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Sewer Fund

The primary responsibility of the Department of Public Works – Sewer Division is to collect and treat sanitary sewage from the City of Montpelier and part of the Town of Berlin. User fees fund the Sewer Division.

The Sewer Division maintains sanitary sewer collection mains and pumping stations, installs new service connections and repairs clogged or broken sewer lines in Montpelier. This division is also responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, which has undergone major upgrades to become a regional treatment facility for septage and leachate treatment. The upgrades are in response to the required state and federal environmental standards which improve the quality of life in Montpelier and the state of Vermont.

The Montpelier City Council, sitting as the Water & Sewer Commissioners, determines sewer rates. Sewer rates are reviewed annually in the spring. We welcome citizen comments in the rate review process. Sewer rates increased substantially in the fiscal year 2006. Rates increased 5% on July 1, 2007, 5% on July 1, 2008 and 5% on July 1, 2009.. It is expected that utility rates will be adjusted annually due to increases in maintenance, chemical, fuel, electricity costs and debt payment. New storm water management requirements also will add operating costs in the Sewer Fund. Quarterly sewer rates are as follows: $8.47 per 1,000 gallons of water used and a fixed charge for all accounts for meter reading, billing and other administrative service costs of $30.00. The City Council’s Water and Sewer Rate Committee will be meeting in 2010 to consider future rate increases that may be necessary to cover operating and debt service costs.

At the March 3, 2009 meeting, the voters approved to borrow $585,000 for CSO Elimination Projects (Arsenal, McKinley, Hinkley, Richardson, School, Lower State and Graham Terrace and Solar Panels for Wastewater Treatment Facility improvements. Later in the Spring, the City applied for and received approval for 50% funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA stimulus money). To meet the ARRA grant requirements, the City held a Special Meeting (Australian Vote) on July 14, 2009 where voters authorized the total cost of these improvements and the equipment purchase of a Sewer Rodder/Vacuum Truck. By taking advantage of stimulus monies available for “shovel-ready” projects, the Sewer Fund is expected to receive $645,500 in federal dollars for capital improvements and equipment purchases that were included in the FY10 Sewer Fund budget.

A sewer benefit charge of $.02 per $100 of property value is dedicated to the repayment of bonded indebtedness. A sewer separation benefit charge which is currently $.10 per $100 of property value, is used to help pay off debt associated with the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) separation project. The objective of this project is to divert storm water from going into sanitary sewer lines reducing a major source of potential pollution for our City’s waterways. These sewer benefit charges will be reviewed in Spring of 2010 when the city-wide reappraisal is complete.
Information about the proposed Sewer Department Budget can be found online at: . For Budget questions, please contact the Finance Department as 223-9520. If you have a concern or question about your quarterly sewer bill, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 262-6265.

Finance Director

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