Regulation 85

03/13/15 - Information updated

View a video of the waste water rate increase information presented to City Council on December 2, 2014.

Q: What is Regulation 85?
In 2012 the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission passed Regulation 85, the Nutrient Management Control Regulation, requiring cities to limit nitrogen and phosphorus discharges into state waterways. The City of Lafayette, in collaboration with the Colorado Nutrient Coalition, unsuccessfully opposed this mandate citing 1) it should target only impacted areas, not the entire state; 2) the projected $1.5 billion statewide capital construction and millions in annual operating expenses are unreasonable; and 3) projected benefits are overstated and overly optimistic.

Q: Why are my waste water charges increasing in April?
The city cannot comply with this new mandate utilizing our existing wastewater reclamation facility. As a result, Lafayette, along with most other municipal water treatment facilities in the state, is forced to invest in substantial capital improvements for new facilities and equipment to comply with this new regulation.

Q: How much will my utility bill increase?
Beginning April 1, 2015 the waste water portion of Lafayette utility bills will increase as follows:
Increases for the Waste Water only fees through 2019

As an example, household waste water bills will increase in 2015 by this amount;
Household Winter Water Usage/Month 2014 Waste Water Fees Waste Water Fees beginning 04/01/15 2015 Waste Water Fee Increase/Month
2,000 gallons
5,000 gallons
8,000 gallons
The average resident will see a 9-11% utility bill increase. View chart.

Q: What facility improvements are necessary in order for Lafayette to comply with the new Regulation 85 mandate?
1) A new treatment plant capable of reducing total inorganic nitrogen to levels below 15 parts per million. Cost: $5.2 million
2) A new chemical building capable of reducing phosphorus levels to below 1 part per million. Cost: $5.1 million

Q: Why are the rate increases larger in 2015 and 2016?
Lafayette is required to be in compliance with Regulation 85 by 2023. In order to meet that deadline, the majority of the project bond financing must be secured by 2016 to begin the design and construction of these new facilities. Unfortunately, because of the lofty $10.3 million capital costs related to Regulation 85 compliance, it is not feasible to gradually increase rates over a longer period of time. Additional rate increases are anticipated in order to fund ongoing Regulation 85 costs as well as future unfunded mandates.

Q: How do Lafayette’s waste water rates compare to other Boulder County cities?
Lafayette’s rates are comparable or below other Boulder County cities. Here is a full comparison of these and other Front Range cities.