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Ensuring a Future With Clean Water and Healthy Communities

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is always hard at work providing drinking water, sewer, drainage, and waste services that support healthy communities and protect our environment. June 26 is an especially busy day for discussions with the Seattle City Council about how we deliver these services, including our priorities and rate path, our largest construction project, and potential changes to one of our primary regulatory mileposts.

If you are following the June 26 activities, you will get a glimpse of SPU’s strategies for facing current and future challenges. Like utilities worldwide, SPU must prepare for and respond to complex challenges, such as climate change, pollution, earthquakes, and unpredictable material and labor costs, as they provide for public health and deliver environmental services. We strive to support and work with communities in long-lasting and meaningful ways.

On the afternoon of June 26, we will be at the Council’s Parks, Public Utilities and Technology Committee talking about our Strategic Business Plan Update for 2025-2030. It proposes a 4.7% average annual rate increase; this makes a predictable six-year rate path that supports the services and infrastructure that Seattle needs, now and in the future, and protects customers from unexpected, large increases in their rates. We are able to provide this rate path, that is lower than regional inflation, because we prioritize and plan for our work, and find fiscally responsible ways to simultaneously provide vital services, protect health and the environment, fight climate change, and invest in community needs. Read the executive summary of our Strategic Business Plan Update or visit this page for more information.

Combined Sewer Overflow Consent Decree Modification

  • On June 26, we transmit a proposed modification to our 2013 combined sewer overflow consent decree to City Council. This proposed modification helps ensure that the City’s remaining required investments in combined sewer infrastructure (that reduces pollution in our local waters) can be adapted for climate change, aligns with the Strategic Business Plan’s rate path, works with other agencies and departments, and prioritizes efforts in historically underserved neighborhoods.

The proposed modification does extend the City’s deadline for completing remaining sewer overflow investments to 2037. While the City will have accomplished at least 88% of the planned frequency and volume reductions from the original 2013 consent decree by 2027, the new deadline will help us deliver our remaining investments as part of a predictable rate path.

See EPA’s press release about this modification and learn more about how SPU has been investing in combined sewer overflow reductions on our website.

Ship Canal Water Quality Project Update

  • On June 26 we will also be at the Parks, Public Utilities and Technology Committee to discuss a project that is part of our combined sewer overflow consent decree — the Ship Canal Water Quality Project. Since 2020, despite excellent project and construction management, the project has experienced the same unprecedented escalation and pandemic-related impacts (materials and labor resourcing) that affected so many people and projects. These challenges, along with the largest boulder ever encountered in a North American tunnel project, mean the project budget has been modified from $570 million to $710 million at an 80% confidence. SPU is committed to managing this project’s budget within the 6-year rate path in our SBP.

In a time of global price fluctuations, SPU staff have worked hard to keep the 2025-2030 rate path low by managing costs and finding efficiencies including seeking alternative financing. We manage project budgets and regulatory requirements to provide customers with a predictable rate path that funds essential and incredibly valuable work for community health and the environment.

If you want to learn more about SPU’s incredible services and programs, including affordability assistance programs, please visit please visit