Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012

City of Alexandria New Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

On December 17, 2012, the City of Alexandria’s Planning Commission will hold a workshop to allow for additional community consideration of a proposed Sanitary Sewer Master Plan that, if adopted, will provide for funding strategies that will significantly increase connection fees for multi-family development. If you or your company is developing new multi-family projects in the City, be aware that your previous budgeting models may no longer apply when factoring sewer costs. It is anticipated that the Planning Commission public hearing on this Plan will occur in February 2013 and that the City Council will consider it in late February or March of 2013.

To increase sanitary sewer revenue, one proposed option is to increase the sanitary sewer connection fees. Sanitary sewer connection fees are charges to new projects that connect to a City sewer line. An examination of the connection fees by the City’s Transportation and Environmental Services staff revealed that the City’s multi-family connection fees are currently only 50% of the City’s single-family connection fee, whereas most other neighboring jurisdictions’ multi-family connection fees are 80-100% of the single-family connection fees. City staff is recommending that the connection fee for multi-family development projects be increased from 50% of the single-family connection fee to 90% of the single-family connection fee, phased in over a two year period starting in FY 2014, which is a significant change from previous practices.

Additional strategies proposed in the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan to increase revenue include: increased user fees; development funded connection system improvements; treatment capacity reservation; wet weather mitigation contribution; and combined sewer separation and mitigation contributions.

Alexandria’s wastewater collection system dates back to the 1800s and includes a sewer system that conveys a combination of storm water and wastewater to the Potomac River in the Old Town Area. Their system includes separate sanitary sewers, interceptor sewers and associated sewer assets and two wastewater treatment facilities. Current and projected growth within the jurisdiction of the City, combined with new regulatory considerations, have prompted the City to take proactive action to ensure adequate future capacity and compliance with regulations.

For more information, please contact Cathy Puskar (cpuskar@arl.thelandlawyers.com).