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Cost to empty septic tanks to increase

Transported liquid waste haulers using Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) disposal services will see increased disposal rates beginning this month. Transported liquid wastes include domestic septage, domestic holding tank waste and c...

Transported liquid waste haulers using Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) disposal services will see increased disposal rates beginning this month. Transported liquid wastes include domestic septage, domestic holding tank waste and contaminated groundwater.
The WLSSD treats about 5 million gallons of transported liquid waste annually.
A June 2000 report illustrated that the costs to treat transported liquid wastes were significantly higher than the rates the WLSSD was charging. In July 2001, the WLSSD Board of Directors approved a plan to increase rates for transported liquid waste disposal over three years in order to bring the rates closer to actual costs.
"The disposal rates for this type of waste have remained constant for more than 20 years," said WLSSD Executive Director Kurt Soderberg. "A recent analysis has shown that treatment costs are about four times what we've been charging.
"It became clear that urban residents connected to the sanitary sewer system have been subsidizing the disposal costs for the septage and holding tank customers. Our goal here is to bring our rates closer to the actual cost of service."
From 1978 to 2001, the WLSSD charged $15 per thousand gallons to dispose of domestic septage. The June 2000 report showed that the actual cost of service to treat this waste was $60 per thousand gallons. The 2002 rate for disposing of 1,000 gallons of domestic septage will be $22.
The June 2000 report also compared the WLSSD transported liquid waste rates to those of other regional communities providing these same services. Rates from the Superior (Wis.) Wastewater Treatment Plant, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, St. Cloud and Rochester were cited. In nearly all cases, WLSSD's rates were shown to be significantly less than the rates charged by these other facilities.
"Charges to individual residents will vary," Soderberg said. "Each waste hauler is responsible for choosing where they bring the liquid waste for disposal and subsequently billing its own customers."

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