FAQ's About Adopted Rate Adjustments

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FAQ's About Adopted Rate Adjustments

In July 2021, AlexRenew adopted a two-year wastewater treatment rate adjustment for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

Why are wastewater treatment rates going up?

AlexRenew adopted a two-year rate adjustment to help fund the mandated RiverRenew program and support upgrades at our treatment facility to purify wastewater 24/7/365.

How much did rates adjust?

Per the two-year adjustment, wastewater treatment rates will increase by 6.5 percent on July 1, 2022. An average residential customer may see a difference of about $3 per month, or an average increase of about $36 per year.

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Table with 3 columns, 3 rows describing rate increases listed in article.

Will residential and commercial customers see the same adjustment?

For commercial properties, the Fiscal Year 2023 increases for the base charge will be assessed based on the size of the meter. This increase generally aligns with the adopted 6.5 percent adjustments. See tables below.

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Large table with various rates listed for residential and commercial customers.

Didn’t my bill already increase? 

This will be the fourth wastewater treatment rate adjustment in support of RiverRenew. Rate increases were implemented each July 1 in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Future additional rate increases are anticipated until 2026 to pay for RiverRenew debt.

What is the RiverRenew program?

The RiverRenew program is the largest infrastructure project in Alexandria’s history and will prevent millions of gallons of combined sewage from polluting the Potomac River, Hunting Creek, and Hooffs Run each year. This will create safer, cleaner, healthier waterways for the community, wildlife, and future generations. Implementation of this historic program is a direct extension of AlexRenew’s vital mission to manage wastewater and keep the community healthy through healthier waterways.

How much will RiverRenew cost?

The RiverRenew program will cost $615 million.

What will the rate increases be used for?

Rate increases will be used to pay off RiverRenew debt incurred through federal and state low-interest water loan programs. This debt will be paid off by AlexRenew over a long period of time, like a home mortgage.

Will my rates go back down again when this is finished?

Debt incurred by AlexRenew will be paid off over a long period of time, like a home mortgage. Therefore, rate increases are not anticipated to decrease after RiverRenew is completed.

Didn’t the Commonwealth of Virginia give financial support for RiverRenew? Will that bring our rates down?

In February 2019, the Virginia General Assembly authorized $25 million in grant funding for RiverRenew. AlexRenew and the City of Alexandria will continue to request grant funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia to reduce the financial burden on ratepayers.

I live outside the area of the combined sewers. Why should my rates be affected?

RiverRenew is a community project. We all benefit from the use of Alexandria’s wastewater systems. This is a significant investment in the health of our waterways that solves an issue for the entire city.

Is AlexRenew doing anything for families who can’t afford to pay their bills?

AlexRenew offers different options for customers who may struggle to pay their wastewater treatment bills, including extended payment plans. Customers who have challenges paying their AlexRenew bills can contact customer service at 703-721-3500 and select Option 1 (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or send an email to billing@alexrenew.com.

What about Fairfax County?

The parts of Fairfax County that are served by AlexRenew share in the costs of treating wastewater. Any rate increase associated with the ongoing operations and maintenance of AlexRenew will continue to be shared. For RiverRenew, certain components within the program address existing sewer system issues that will benefit Fairfax County. The costs of those projects will be shared between Fairfax County and residents of Alexandria. The components of the project which address existing sewer system issues that benefit Alexandria only will be paid for by Alexandria rate payers.

How does my bill break down? Is it based on how much water I use?

Your wastewater treatment bill includes two charges from AlexRenew. The first charge, a base charge, is a fixed charge based upon your meter size. The second charge, the wastewater treatment charge, is a volume charge that is based upon how much water you use and the expenses required to treat the wastewater produced from that volume.

The other charges on your bill are the City of Alexandria’s sanitary sewer system capital investment and maintenance fee. AlexRenew bills for this on behalf of the City of Alexandria and remits payment back to the City of Alexandria.

What about stormwater fees?

The Stormwater Utility Fee is assessed directly by the City of Alexandria and is based on a property’s impervious area, or hard surfaces like roofs and driveways that don't let rain runoff soak into the ground. Residential properties are billed a flat fee in their real estate tax bill based on the type of property. If you need more information about stormwater or stormwater fees, please visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/Stormwater.

Additional questions?

If you have any additional questions, we have a lot of information available at our Customer Information Center. You can also contact the RiverRenew team at askriverrenew@alexrenew.com.