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What does your utility bill pay for?

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Why do I pay a utility bill? 

Utility rates are collected on a bi-monthly basis to pay for operating costs, current and future infrastructure needs, and equipment replacement for water, sanitary sewer, storm water and solid waste services. We have been reconstructing streets and replacing old water and sewer lines for many years. Some of our existing water mains are still from 1920s and 30s. We also need to plan for rebuilding wells, water treatment and some day possibly replacing the aging downtown water tower with a new tower.

  • Solid waste charges collected cover the cost of garbage, recycling, yard waste, branches, Christmas trees, garbage collections at city parks, code enforcement time spent on solid waste problems, illegal dumping, and similar services.

  • Water charges include the cost to pump water from the ground, treat it, pump it up into water towers so there is enough pressure in the pipes to get it into homes and for firefighting.  Costs are for delivering the water; maintaining the wells, pipes, storage tanks and towers; debt service payments; and capital improvements.
  • Storm water utility charges cover the cost of water capacity and piping from streets into our lakes, street sweeping, system maintenance, debt service payments and capital improvements. The charges also cover the cost of operating the flocculation plant on Crystal Lake which is removing phosphorus from the lake to address smelly algae blooms and make the water optimal for recreational opportunities. 

  • Sanitary sewer utility charges, include the cost of pipes and equipment at lift stations that elevate the sewage from low points so it keeps running downhill to the Pigs Eye Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Paul, also to pay the cost for staff to clean clogged lines when grease gets poured down kitchen drains and wipes (anything other than toilet paper) get flushed down toilets, plus paying for clean up when these clogs block the line and have waste back up into homes. Other costs include payments to Metropolitan Council Environmental Services for the cost of sewage treatment and metropolitan area system improvements along with city debt service payments and capital improvements.

Current utility rates?

Current Utility Billing Rates

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How often am I billed?

Robbinsdale residents and businesses are billed bi-monthly for amounts of water used and recorded by their water meters. In addition to water, bills include charges for storm water and sanitary sewer services and solid waste pickup.

How often is my water meter read?

Water meters are read at the end of every month, about every 30 days. Water meters are read twice per billing cycle, with a billing cycles being 2 months or about 60 days in length. Sometimes due to unanticipated events, adverse weather, weekends and holidays, two meter readings can be longer or shorter than 60 days which may cause a utility bill to slightly fluctuate between billing periods.

Water Conservation Tips

Helpful Information

Click on the YouTube video links below to learn about these topics:

Crystal Lake's aeration system

Crystal Lake's treatment plan

Drinking water treatment plants

Flushing fire hydrants

How you can help prevent sewer problems

Sanitary lift stations

Street sweeping and water main breaks