History of GPSD
Description of the District:
The Greater Peoria Sanitary and Sewage Disposal District is a Municipal Corporation authorized by an election held on June 6, 1927. The purpose of the District is to collect the wastewater of the District (domestic and industrial) and convey that wastewater to a facility for treatment in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State of Illinois and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The District currently serves an area of approximately 66 square miles and treats wastewater collected from 716 miles of sewer. The District’s treatment plant is located at 2322 South Darst Street, Peoria. Municipalities served include Peoria, Peoria Heights, Bartonville, West Peoria and Bellevue, plus adjacent unincorporated areas. An industrial area located near Mapleton is also served by agreement.
The District is governed by a 5 member Board of Trustees who are appointed by the Chairperson of the Peoria County Board of Supervisors with the advice and consent of the County Commissioners. The Trustees establish all District policy and adopt rules and regulations governing the operation of the District in accordance with the laws of the United States and State of Illinois. Board meetings are open to the public and are held on the third Tuesday of each month, 9:30 A.M. at the District’s office, 2322 South Darst Street, Peoria.
Waste Treatment Facilities:
The District began treating sewage in May 1931 with a process consisting of physical separation of solid material and biological treatment of oxygen demanding waste. Several significant improvements have occurred through the years; however, the original processes remain in use today. During 2015, an average volume of 27 million gallons were treated each day. The treatment process removed over 96% of the oxygen demanding organic and nutrient pollutants. Reclaimed water is returned to the Illinois River near the Kickapoo Creek. Wastewater generated in the service area has historically been heavily industrial in nature and today, approximately 70% of the oxygen demanding waste is from industrial users. The treatment process converts dissolved pollutants to biological solids which are beneficially used as either cover at a local landfill or applied to agricultural land. Operation and performance of the treatment facility is monitored and regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Sewage Collection System:
The sewage collection system is managed by the Operations and Planning and Construction Departments. Their functions include cleaning and repair of the sewer pipes and pumping facilities, extending sewers to serve growth and development, and maintaining records associated with sewers and connections to the sewers. The District sewer system is generally the common pipe serving two or more properties. The pipe connecting the building to the District sewer is owned and maintained by the building owner.
District sewers are regularly cleaned with high pressure water to maintain free flowing conditions. Any sewer service problems, such as poor drainage or odors, should be referred to the Operations staff. District personnel are available to investigate problems 24 hours a day. Once contacted, we will advise the caller if the problem is associated with their building sewer. If so, the District does not pay for or reimburse owners for these types of problems.
New connections to District sewers or repair of a building sewer are governed by a permit process. At the time new connections are made, connection charges that reflect the capital investment in sewer pipe is paid. District staff will inspect the work for compliance with accepted construction practices and record the location of the pipe for future reference. There is no charge for a permit to repair an old pipe. Records of building sewer locations are available for most properties served by the District and are available from the Planning and Construction Department.
The majority of sewer service problems are experienced during heavy rainfall. Rainwater entering the sewer may exceed the capacity of the sewer, causing basement flooding or manhole overflows. Sources of clean water entry are footing drains, sump pump connections and basement dewatering systems. These connections are prohibited. Owners are encouraged to remove these types of connections to reduce the wet weather impact on other users and reduce operating costs. Wet weather sewage backups can usually be corrected by modifying the building plumbing. District personnel are available to assist property owners in evaluating this option and public funds are available to cost share the work.
The District accounts for expenses and revenues in two categories: Operations and Capital Improvements/Debt Service. Operations include salaries, services, supplies, utilities and insurance. Capital improvements provide for the replacement and expansion of the sewerage infrastructure. Debt service pays off borrowed funds. The Board’s financial policy requires costs to be recovered from user fees that reflect the benefit received. While the District has the authority to levy a real estate tax, no tax levy has been made since the user charge system was started in 1980.
Operating costs total approximately $11.2 million for the 2017 fiscal year. These costs are primarily recovered through the user charge system. Sewer bills are calculated on the amount of water a property consumes or direct measurement of the sewage flow. User charge rates are reviewed annually and adjusted to meet operating expenses. For residential customers who receive sewage collection and treatment services, the overall effective District user charge rate is $2.44 per 100 cubic feet of water metered. Residential customers in the City of Peoria have an additional charge of $0.75 per 100 cubic feet for rehabilitation of City owned sewers. Single-family residential accounts receive a 7% discount (reflected in the above rate of $2.44 per 100 cubic feet), year round, as an allowance for water purchased but not draining to the sewer. Commercial and Industrial customers are billed based on the volume of sewage generated and the strength of that sewage.
The Capital Improvements budget anticipates $20.1 million in expenditures for continuing and proposed treatment plant improvements, sewer replacement and expansion, plus equipment replacements. The most significant portion of the work consists of treatment works improvements to meet nutrient limits and reduce electrical energy consumption. Projects in the development stage include addressing the levee protecting the treatment works from Illinois River flooding. Improvements consisting of raising the crest of the levee approximately 2 feet and managing internal drainage have been identified and conditionally approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as meeting 100 year flood protection.
The District primarily funds capital improvements with current receipts and cash reserve, relying on debt financing only when needed. Financing the current fiscal year capital expenses will, however, require bonding estimated at $8 million. Current outstanding debt consists of $6.6 million from an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan in 2006 that provided part of the funding for treatment plant improvements.
Capital improvements and debt service expenditures are funded through several sources. The most significant is the Capital Improvement and Replacement Surcharge. This rate is 53% of District charges. Other sources of capital funding include connection fees, investment income, replacement taxes and special assessment payments.
Timely payment of user charge bills reduces collection costs for all of the District’s customers. For those accounts not kept current, the District uses a series of collection procedures including water shutoff. If customers are having difficulty paying their bills, they are encouraged to contact the Customer Service department early in the process to make payment arrangements.