Sewer user charges are established and made effective as follows:
A. Timing. User charges are calculated on a routine basis, such as monthly, quarterly or annually.
B. Sanitary Sewer Services. The City calculates and collects user charges for sanitary sewer services from ratepayers who cause or permit the discharge of sanitary sewage from a property in their possession into the public sewer system. Charges for sanitary sewer services may include sanitary sewer volume charges, account service charges and penalties for non-payment or late-payment of sewer charges and other charges:
1. Residential dwellings. Residential dwelling units are assessed based on the volume of sewage discharged to the sanitary sewer system. The Director may elect to use water consumption as the basis of this calculation. To avoid including irrigation water usage in this calculation, the Director will establish a procedure that allows for irrigation credit. When a water meter reading is not available, a sanitary sewer discharge estimate will be made based on the ratepayer class of characteristics per administrative rule.
2. Non-residential occupancies. The City calculates charges for commercial, industrial, and all occupancies based on the amount of incoming water volume as measured by the City water meter, information from the water district serving the property, or by an approved meter that measures actual sanitary discharge volume.
3. Combined dwelling units and other. Where dwelling units and other occupancies use the same water supply, the City calculates charges for sanitary sewer service in the same manner as those for commercial, industrial, and all occupancies other than residential.
4. Estimating wastewater discharges for mobile dischargers. User charges are applicable to all wastewater discharges to the City sewer system regardless of the source. In unusual circumstances where the wastewater is not from a fixed location, such as ships, barges, houseboats and other movable facilities or dwelling units, a method of determining the volume provided by the user may be used if approved by the Director. Otherwise, the Director estimates the volume of water to which user charges apply and this determination is final.
5. In areas served by separated storm and sanitary sewer systems, the City may accept the discharge of contaminated stormwater into the sanitary sewer. The discharge volumes will be determined by the amount of impervious area producing the contaminated stormwater plus the average rainfall or a discharge meter. The discharge will be charged based on sanitary sewer volume rates.
C. In cases where water is supplied solely from a private source or sources such as wells, springs, rivers or creeks, or from a partial supply in addition to that furnished by the City, residential ratepayers are assigned the class average volume for their alternative source water use. Commercial ratepayers must meter the private supply either as an inflow or a discharge in conformance to the provisions of this Chapter.
D. Meters required. Any meter or method used for calculation of a adjusted charge or credit is subject to the administrative or special meter charge for each such meter or method. The property owner is responsible for purchasing, installing, maintaining, and calibrating the private meter and must comply with all provisions in this Title. Meters must be approved by the Director as to type, maintenance, calibration schedule, size and location before installation.
1. All meters must register in cubic feet.
2. Meters installed on water systems supplied from private or public sources and used to measure cooling, irrigation, evaporation or product water for the purpose of obtaining reduced sewer charges must be connected in such a manner as to register only that portion of the water supply used for that purpose.
3. Meters placed below the ground or pavement surface must have the top of the meter not more than 8 inches below the surface and must be enclosed in a standard water meter box and cover as used by the Portland Water Bureau. Meters located above the ground or floor level must not be more than 3-1/2 feet above the ground or floor level.
4. All meters must be located in an area that is freely accessible at all times and that, in determination of the Director, does not present a danger to City employees.
5. The owner of a meter must implement a program to ensure meter accuracy. The program should consider the manufacturer’s periodic maintenance and calibration requirements. All maintenance and calibration records must be retained and available for review by City personnel.
6. Failure of the owner, the owner’s lessee, or others acting under the owner to maintain the meter in good working order constitutes a violation of this Chapter. During the period of the meter’s non-operation and pending the proper repair and reinstallation of the meter, the account may be billed on the basis of three times the normal water usage or in such an amount as deemed proper by the Director.
E. Credits. A ratepayer must submit a written request for establishing reduced charges or credit for water not subject to sewer user charges. Requests must be received prior to any use of water that may be subject to reduced or special charges, and prior to installation of any meter. A request for credit must include a meter maintenance plan and a mechanical plan showing the proposed meter location, access route to the meter, the water supply or source, the cooling or other water-using equipment, and the discharge point. Reduced charges or credits will not be given for any period prior to the date of approval. No reduced sewer charge may be given until the Director has approved the request.
1. Water not subject to sewer user charges. The Director may exempt from sewer user charges water that is used in a manufactured product such as ice, canned goods or beverages; or for water lost by evaporation or used in irrigation. To calculate the quantity of exempt water, a meter must be installed to the satisfaction of the Director.
2. Clean water discharges. When a non-residential ratepayer requests approval for a temporary or permanent discharge of clean water to a public sewer system, the discharger must install meters or provide other verifiable and quantifiable information using a method approved by the Director to determine the volume of water to be discharged. Water such as that used for refrigerating or cooling purposes or condensed from steam and that has been put to no other use may be discharged into the sanitary system as clean water.
a. Clean water to storm sewer or other public drainage systems. Charges are calculated based on the clean water discharge-to-storm rate multiplied by the measured or estimated volume of water discharged to a public storm sewer or other public drainage system.
b. Clean water to sanitary or combined sewer systems. Charges are the same for other sewer uses and are calculated based on the non-residential sewer services rate multiplied by the measured or estimated volume of water discharged to a public sanitary or combined sewer.
3. Conditions for revoking reduced charges or credits. The following conditions will nullify discounts and reinstate full user charges until such time as the owner or person in charge of the premises formally notifies the Director that the situation has been rectified.
a. Defective discharge meters. During the period of the meter’s non-operation and pending the proper repair and reinstallation of the meter, the account may be billed for the full amount of water passing through the supply meter and up to three times the supply flow provided by non-City resources. At no time may a reduced charge or credit be allowed retroactively, or for a period in which the meter is defective.
b. Failure to report. Failure to report on quantities of water subject to reduced charge or credit for 2 consecutive months is a violation of this Chapter. User charges must be paid on the full amount of water passing through the supply meter and up to three times the supply flow provided by non-City resources during these 60 days. At no time may a reduced charge or credit be allowed retroactively, or for a period in which no reports were submitted.
F. Stormwater Management Services. Ratepayers who receive a direct or indirect benefit from City stormwater management services are subject to the user charge. The ratepayer identified on the City utility billing account is assumed to be the user of stormwater management services and responsible for the user charge. If the property is not subject to other City utility charges, the Director will determine the ratepayer responsible for the user charge.
1. Billing Components. The user charge consists of the following components:
a. Stormwater On-Site. The user rate for the on-site component is 35 percent of the stormwater management services rate.
b. Stormwater Off-Site. The user rate for the off-site component is 65 percent of the stormwater management services rate.
2. Basis for charge. User charges are calculated based on the user’s proportionate share of City stormwater management services as estimated by the amount of impervious area on the user’s site. Unless the site has been measured to the satisfaction of the Director, impervious area is assumed to be the average impervious area for the user’s class.
3. Dwelling units. The City uses the following class averages of impervious areas for calculating user charges for dwelling units located on a single property or tax lot:
a. One and Two Dwelling Units - 2,400 square feet
b. Three Dwelling Units - 3,000 square feet
c. Four Dwelling Units - 4,000 square feet
4. Properties other than dwelling units or with five or more dwelling units. The City calculates the ratepayer’s use of stormwater drainage system services based on the amount of impervious area on the site.
5. Clean River Rewards. Clean River Rewards discounts are offered to increase ratepayer control over stormwater management charges and to advance City environmental goals. The program provides economic incentives, technical assistance, and environmental education to ratepayers who control and manage the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff on their private property.
G. Portland Harbor Superfund Charge. The City calculates and collects user charges for the Portland Harbor Superfund Program. If the property is not subject to other City utility charges, the Director determines the ratepayer responsible for the Portland Harbor Superfund charge. This user charge appears as a line item on the City utility bill, and is the sum of the following two rate calculations:
1. Sanitary Volume. This portion of the charge is the sanitary sewer service user charge multiplied by the Portland Harbor Superfund Sanitary Volume rate.
2. Impervious Area. This portion of the charge is the stormwater management services charge multiplied by the Portland Harbor Superfund Impervious Area rate.