Watertown, South Dakota

The question about whether or not a Watertown business should receive a break in their new wastewater utility rate increase came before the Public Works, Finance and Safety Committee at their Tuesday night meeting. 

Previously, management of Dakota Tube had approached the city with concerns over the new wastewater utility rate implementation. The question from management to city officials is whether a rate tier system could be applied to users, such as them, who fall into the Significant Industrial User Category.  Dakota Tube contributes approximately 32,400 gallons of water each day to the wastewater system, the largest in the city and more than three times higher than the next highest contributor who uses about 11,588 gallons.  The increase in fees under the new wastewater utility rates would result in a 20% increase or an estimated $14,000 annual increase in fees to Dakota Tube. 

Dakota Tube President John Steinbauer addressed the council with his concerns, saying much of the water being returned to the wastewater treatment system is already treated by them and that should be taken into consideration.…. 

Watertown Wastewater Superintendent Mike Boerger said there is a reason for that water being pretreated……

Council Member Beth Mantey said she favors taking a look at a tiered system that wouldn’t have such a drastic impact on a company's budget…..

Mantey said the idea behind the increase is to bring the rates closer to where they need to be, saying Watertown is behind on the rate fees while recognizing that the current rate plan will significantly impact large users such as Dakota Tube….. 

After further discussion the committee voted to approve the motion, which means that Dakota Tube’s rates will stay at the 2020 wastewater rate for now, while further research is done regarding the implementation of a tier system.

The committee voted 8 to 1 on the motion with Councilman Michael Heuer voting no and Councilman Don Roby abstaining from the vote. 

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