Sewer Fees

For more information please contact the OCSD Rate Line at (714) 593-7281 or via email at

What is the Orange County Sanitation District?

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) is a special district responsible for safely collecting, treating, disposing and recycling of wastewater (sewage).  It is a public agency, separate from the County of Orange or any city government, established under the State Health and Safety Code to provide sewage service to a specific regional geographic area.  OCSD is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of an elected official from each of the local sewer agencies or cities within our 479-square-mile service area.

What services does the Orange County Sanitation District provide me?

OCSD is responsible for collecting, treating and recycling about 185 million gallons of wastewater (sewage) every day. We take wastewater from your local system, transport it to one of the regional facilities in Huntington Beach or Fountain Valley, treat it, reclaim the recyclable products such as solids, and water, generate energy from the biogas to power our facilities.

Why is this increase necessary?

This fee increase is necessary to cover the cost of inflation. Our facilities need to be kept in good operating condition to prevent breakdowns, keep us in compliance with air and water permits, and guard against sewage spills and beach closures.

What is the fee?

The sewer service fee is for the collection, treatment, and recycling or disposal of your wastewater (sewage). It is a fee, not a tax because it is based upon your use of the sewage system and not on the value of your  property. 

How is the fee calculated?

It is based upon the demand placed on our system by your property:

• Residential properties, including condominiums and town homes, are charged a flat rate. 
• Multi-family (apartment buildings including duplexes and triplexes) and mobile home parks are charged on a per unit basis. 
• Non-residential properties are charged a rate per thousand square feet of improvements. The rate varies based upon the use of the property.
How long will the fee appear on the property tax bill?

The sewer service fee is an annual charge that appears on your property tax bill.    Using the property tax bill is the most cost-effective method of fee collection.

Was the fee voter approved?

State law requires OCSD to notify you when a fee increase is proposed.  That is why you are receiving this notice.  When a fee is imposed or increased, a Public Notice is published in the local newspaper and notifications are mailed to property owners.  The fees are enacted after a public hearing by a vote of the Board of Directors.

How do you satisfy the requirements of Propositions 13 and 218?

Proposition 13 deals with taxes.  This user fee is based upon the average use of the sewer system, not property values.  Therefore, the user fee is not a tax and is not governed by Proposition 13.

Rather than an election, Proposition 218 requires OCSD to mail a notice to each property owner and conduct a public hearing when a fee is imposed or increased.  In this case the notice was mailed to you on February 9, 2018.   A public hearing will be held on March 28, 2018.

I already pay a sewer fee on another bill.  Is this a duplicate sewer charge?

That fee may be for the operation and maintenance of your local sewer system which is owned by your local city, water district or sanitary district.  That system collects the sewage from your home, conveys it through the sewers in your local streets, and ultimately transfers it to the large regional trunk sewers and treatment plants that make up the Sanitation District’s regional system.  OCSD does not receive any monies collected by these local sewering agencies.

Is the fee going to increase?

The proposed uniform single-family residential (SFR) user rate structure over the next five-year period from 2019 - 2023 is:




















The multi-family residential (MFR) use per apartment unit has been established by flow monitoring and census data to be 70 percent of the SFR use.  Thus, the MFR rate will increase proportionally per unit, per year.  Non-residential users pay a rate per 1,000 square feet of building area, based upon the average quantity and strength of wastewater discharged as determined by studies of actual flows discharged into the system by each category of users.

Why are we proposing a 5-year increase schedule?

As the sixth largest wastewater treatment agency in the United States, several factors influence future costs and the rates needed to cover them.  OCSD is proposing a rate increase to address the cost of inflation on items needed to inspect, repair, operate, and maintain the regional treatment and collection system.  A multi-year program saves administrative costs for publishing and mailing notices.

Am I eligible for a refund?

Non-residential users that have substantially lower than average water usage is eligible for a reduced charge and/or rebate.  If you think you qualify, please complete claim forms for a rebate or refund. As the single-family residence rate (SFR) is a flat rate and is the lowest rate that any user can pay for our services, residential users are not eligible for a rebate. 

What if I am not connected to the sewer system?

The OCSD sewer service fee ordinance only applies to parcels that are connected to the sewer system.  Parcels that are on a septic system are exempt from the OCSD sewer service fee since they are not using the system.  While we have attempted to identify all parcels that utilize a septic system, it is possible that we may have missed some.  If this is your situation, please complete a septic tank refund form

What if I have further questions, comments or would like to protest this fee?

The Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 to consider your input on the proposed rate change.  The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the OCSD Board Room, 10844 Ellis Avenue, Fountain Valley, California.  Written comments may also be submitted through the mail to OCSD, 10844 Ellis Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 or an email to A valid protest letter or email must include your name, the parcel number at which you receive sewer service from OCSD and a statement of protest. The letter or email of protest must be received prior to or during the public hearing on March 28.

If you have additional questions or want more information, please call (714) 593-7281 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  If these times are not convenient, you may leave a recorded message after hours or on weekends or email us.  A member of OCSD’s staff will return by the next business day.

Can these rate increases wait a few years?

No, unfortunately they cannot. If we were to defer these rates, it’s likely the increase would be needed at a later date and would be more than the 1.2 percent that is proposed.  With that said, OCSD does work from a 5-year rate structure, if costs or projects are deferred or delayed, OCSD will reduce the proposed rate as we did in 2016. OCSD’s rates were scheduled to be $339 for 2017-18; however, based upon cost saving measures implemented by OCSD our Board was able to reduce the rate schedule resulting in a 2017-18 rate of $331.

What is this rate increase being spent on -- Salaries & Pensions?

The majority of our revenue comes from the Single Family Residential User Rate. The proposed annual 1.2 percent increase will cover all infrastructure renewal.

Unlike cities, where 80 percent of the budget is for personnel, here at OCSD about 80 percent of our budget is spent on equipment, assets, and infrastructure projects.

What has OCSD done to keep rates low?

Our ratepayers want to know they are getting a good return on their investment and that we are spending your fees to produce substantial benefits.  To reduce costs, OCSD is always looking for innovative ways to be more resourceful and efficient while ensuring we maintain our high standard of customer service. The following list is a sample of some cost saving measures that support our overarching goal to contain costs and limit long-term liabilities.

• OCSD began paying down our Unfunded Actuarial Accrued (pension) Liability (UAAL) in 2014, and made a final payment in 2017. Because of this paydown, OCSD’s employer premium retirement contribution rate has decreased by 72 percent.

• By refinancing debt, we are saving an average of $67 million annually due to lower interest rates.

• Through chemical optimization, new contracts and alternative operations; OCSD has realized an annual cost savings of over $5 million.

Through financial management, new contracts and alternative operations; OCSD’s recent cost saving measures have reduced the rate payers cost by $10 million.