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Why have Johnson County Wastewater (JCW) rates gone up and how do our rates compare to other service providers in the area?

Our  streamways are a part of our community, connecting cities, parks and more.  Clean water is key to keeping streamways healthy, protecting people, animals and the environment. JCW cleans used water, also known as wastewater, and returns it to the streams and rivers. The system includes more than 2250 miles of sewer pipes, involves six treatment facilities, and treats about 50 million gallons of wastewater per day from more than 400,000 customers in 16 cities in Johnson County. 

There are several factors that affect wastewater rates.  Since wastewater is returned to streams and rivers, it must meet strict water quality standards to ensure the safety of fish, wildlife and humans. Rates for wastewater treatment have increased annually in recent years due to both inflation and increased water quality requirements.

Capital investment in renewing our infrastructure are also factors of wastewater rates.  The construction of the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility will help keep rate increases smaller after its construction is completed in 2022.  

All these factors required an increase of $4.76 for the median household on each bi-monthly bill in 2018. JCW uses residents’ average winter water usage (AAWU), as read at the meter during winter months, to reasonably estimate the amount of water discharged to the wastewater system. This process avoids months where residents are watering their lawn or using water for other outdoor activities that would not use the system. More information on how to understand your JCW bill can be found on their website under Department News.

JCW continues to have one of the lowest wastewater rates in the region, due in a large part to the proactive asset management, maintenance and repair program that allows them to avoid expensive repairs and clean-up costs that are often the result of deferred maintenance. 

Typical monthly wastewater bill comparison