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Extra Strength Program

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The sewer extra strength charge program is intended to fairly align the costs of treating different strengths of wastewater.


What is Extra Strength Charge (ESC)?

The purpose of the ESC is to cover the cost of treating extra strength wastewater discharged into the City of Bend sewer system. If a business discharges wastewater that has more pollutants in it than a typical household generates, then the business pays for the additional cost of cleaning or treating that extra strength wastewater.

The City of Bend collects and treats nearly all of the wastewater generated in Bend and charges sewer rates to recover the cost of providing this service. Not all sewer customers generate the same flow and concentration of wastewater. The City has a volume charge that recovers cost based on amount of flow, and the City developed the ESC to recover cost based on concentration of wastewater. Without this charge, all ratepayers must share the cost of treating extra strength wastewater created by a portion of the City’s sewer customers.

Who generates extra strength wastewater?

A variety of business types generate extra strength wastewater such as restaurants, bakeries, breweries, and commercial laundries. An ESC is assigned to businesses that generate a high concentration of pollutants such as Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)* and Total Suspended Solids (TSS)* in their wastewater discharged to the wastewater treatment system.

*The BOD test indicates the amount of oxygen that is required to reduce the strength of the pollution to an acceptable level, and the TSS indicates how much visible matter is in the wastewater that will need to be separated at the treatment plant.

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