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Information for Water-Sewer Districts

This page, created for the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts (WASWD), provides links to MRSC's many resources that are relevant to water-sewer districts.

Have a question? Ask MRSC! WASWD and Enduris member agencies are eligible for our free one-on-one inquiry service. Get an answer quickly from one of our trusted attorneys, policy consultants, or finance experts!


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Search for Information and Documents

MRSC has developed custom search tools for the Washington Association of Sewer and Water Districts (WASWD). These custom tools you to search exclusively for water-sewer examples within our Sample Document Library or on external district websites.

You can also search the MRSC website for a broad range of local government topics, or visit an individual water-sewer district's website (see our list of water-sewer districts below) to search for examples of policies, resolutions, financial documentation, codes, and more.


List of Water-Sewer Districts

For a list of water-sewer districts in Washington, including links to their websites where available, see our page Water and Sewer Districts Listed by County.


Rate Schedules

Below are examples of water-sewer district rate schedules:


Utility Billing and Collection

For general information on utility billing and financial controls, see our pages on:

In the event of nonpayment, liens, water shutoffs, and sewer disconnections (caps) can be used. However, the exact options depend on the type of municipality that owns and operates the sewer utility, as well as the type of utility service being provided, and utility customers have certain procedural protections under state and federal law. For general overviews, see:

To determine whether your district can use a lien, shut off water service, or cap the sewer connection in a specific situation, use our Utility Liens and Shut-Offs Tool, which will guide you through a series of questions.


Other Water-Sewer Topics

Below are selected pages that discuss other topics specific to water and sewer services.


Information for Water-Sewer Commissioners

MRSC has two publications that may be of particular interest to water-sewer commissioners (or prospective commissioners):

  • Getting Into Office – Discusses the qualifications and processes required to seek office
  • Knowing the Territory – Describes the nature, powers, and duties of municipal officials for "keeping out of trouble," including discussions of open government, conflicts of interest, and other laws.

For a good overview of a commissioner's roles and responsibilities, see:

All water-sewer commissioners must complete training for the Open Public Meetings Act and the Public Records Act within 90 days of taking the oath of office or assuming duties (see below).

The appearance of fairness doctrine requires all quasi-judicial actions taken by the board (which impact individual property owners and are distinct from policymaking or legislation) to be fair and unbiased in fact and appearance. For water-sewer districts, this might include judgments such as property owners appealing the general manager's decisions or requesting variances requiring board approval. For more information, see our page on the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine or download our Appearance of Fairness Doctrine publication.

Some districts have adopted their own codes of ethics, so make sure you know what your local policies are.


Codes and Resolutions

Water-sewer districts adopt rules governing the transaction of their business by resolution. For information on drafting and adopting resolutions, download our Local Ordinances publication. While this document focuses on ordinances for cities and counties, the contents are still useful for water-sewer district resolutions.

Below are some water-sewer districts that provide their codes or resolutions online:


Open Public Meetings

The Washington Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) requires that all meetings of governing bodies of public agencies, including water-sewer districts, be open to the public.

The OPMA contains specific provisions regarding regular and special meetings, executive sessions, the types of notice that must be given for meetings, the conduct of meetings, and the penalties and remedies for violations.

All water-sewer commissioners must complete OPMA training within 90 days of taking the oath of office or assuming duties. A refresher OPMA training is also required every four years.

For more information, see our page on the Open Public Meetings Act, or download our Open Public Meetings Act publication.


Public Records

The Public Records Act (PRA) requires that all public records maintained by state and local agencies, including water-sewer districts, be made available to all members of the public, with very narrow statutory exemptions.

All water-sewer commissioners and public records officers must complete PRA training within 90 days of taking the oath of office or assuming duties. A refresher PRA training is also required every four years.

For more information, see our page on the Public Records Act, or download our Public Records Act publication.


Financial Policies

Effective financial policies are essential to a local government’s fiscal health. They provide stability and continuity over the years as staff and elected officials turn over by establishing what actions are acceptable and unacceptable, identifying who is responsible for taking certain actions, and providing standards to measure your jurisdiction’s performance.

They will also be used during state audits to assess compliance, by credit ratings agencies to help determine your jurisdiction’s fiscal stability, and by other financial professionals as a basis for providing services.

MRSC, in partnership with the State Auditor's Office Local Government Performance Center, has developed a series of webpages to help local governments develop effective financial policies, with an emphasis on asset management, cost allocation, debt, fund balance/reserves, and investments. Each page includes best practices, key questions to consider, and examples from local jurisdictions. For more information, see our page Financial Management Policies and Resources.


Purchasing, Contracting, and Competitive Bidding

For general information about public works contracting, purchases, and service contracts, see our extensive series on Purchasing and Contracting.

For a good example of a water-sewer procurement policy, see:

To see your specific statutory bid limits and competitive bidding requirements for any kind of project, use our Find Your Contracting Requirements tool. Select your project type, then select “water-sewer district.” Note: This tool only shows your statutory requirements. Your district may have adopted its own, more stringent policies, so always consult your local policies and legal counsel.

Rosters and Vendor Lists

Water-sewer districts are authorized to use a small works roster process for public works contracts with an estimated cost of $300,000 or less (see RCW 57.08.050(2) and RCW 39.04.155). For more information, see our page on Small Public Works Rosters or download our Small Works Roster publication.

Water-sewer districts are also authorized to use vendor lists for purchases with an estimated cost of less than $50,000 (see RCW 57.08.050 and RCW 39.04.190).

MRSC provides its own roster service for local governments across Washington, connecting hundreds of local governments – including many water-sewer districts – to thousands of businesses for public works, consulting services, and purchases. To sign up or learn more, visit MRSC Rosters.


Interlocal Agreements

RCW 39.34.040 provides an alternative to filing an interlocal agreement with the county auditor; a public agency may list the agreement on its website or other electronically retrievable public source. For more information, see our page on Intergovernmental Cooperation in Public Works.

Below are examples of water-sewer districts that post interlocal agreements online:


Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is critical for water-sewer districts and other utility providers, which must protect vital infrastructure in addition to customer billing information, personal employee information, and important internal documents.

To help local governments protect against hackers, ransomware, and other threats, MRSC has partnered with the State Auditor's Office Local Government Performance Center to develop some useful resources for local governments:


Last Modified: November 08, 2017