About the capacity charge
Learn more about why King County has a capacity charge, how the capacity charge is structured, and who pays the capacity charge.
What is the capacity charge?
The sewage treatment capacity charge is a monthly charge, billed quarterly for 15 years directly from King County. It helps fund the costs of new wastewater infrastructure in our region without charging up-front costs for property development.
Who pays a capacity charge?
Owners of properties whose sewage flows to a King County treatment plant and who connect to the sewer system on or after February 1, 1990 pay the capacity charge. This includes new sewer service, reconnections after 5 years, additions, and changes of use.
Some properties in Pierce County and south Snohomish County pay the capacity charge because their sewage is brought to and treated at a King County sewage treatment plant.
The capacity charge is the responsibility of the current property owner. The charge is billed for 15 years, unless the balance is paid off early.
Why is there a capacity charge?
The capacity charge helps King County protect public health and the environment. It also helps us keep up with our region’s growth by funding more pipes, pump stations, and treatment plants. Customers with the newest sewer connections pay the charge so that “growth pays for growth."
Elected officials, sewer utility representatives and jurisdiction officials were all involved in King County's decision to implement a capacity charge.
How much is the capacity charge?
The capacity charge is calculated using a measurement called “residential customer equivalent” or RCE. The 2023 capacity charge is $72.50 per residential customer equivalent (RCE) per month. This rate goes into effect for properties connecting to the sewer system on or after January 1, 2023.
How to pay remaining balance in one lump sum at a discount
At any time during the 15-year duration of the charge, you may pay the remaining balance in one lump sum at a discount. For questions about the discounted payoff amount, please call us at 206-296-1450 or email CapChargeEscrow@kingcounty.gov.
Your monthly capacity charge rate will depend on the size and/or type of your home. Refer to the table below to estimate your residential property's monthly rate.
|Property type||RCE's||2023 connection rates|
Small: less than 1,500 sq. ft.
|0.81 RCE||0.81 RCE x $72.50 = $58.73/month|
Medium: 1,500 to 2,999 sq. ft.
|1.0 RCE||1.0 RCE x $72.50 = $72.50/month|
Large: greater than 3,000 sq. ft.
|1.16 RCE||1.16 RCEs x $72.50 = $84.10/month|
Two to four units
|0.81 RCE/unit||EXAMPLE: 2 units x 0.81 = 1.62 RCEs x $72.50 = $117.45/month|
Five or more units
|0.63 RCE/unit||EXAMPLE: 6 units x 0.63 = 3.78 RCEs x $72.50 = $274.05/month|
|Accessory dwelling unit
(attached or detached)
|0.59 RCE/unit||0.59 RCE x $72.50 = $42.78/month|
|Microhousing||0.35 RCE/unit||0.35 RCE x $72.50 = $25.38/month|
special purpose housing
|0.32 RCE/unit||0.32 RCE x $72.50 = $23.20/month|
The capacity charge is determined by plumbing fixtures (20 fixtures = 1.0 RCE) and/or wastewater flow projections converted to RCEs.
For questions about a non-residential property, please email CapChargeForms@kingcounty.gov.
- Bathtub and Shower
- Shower, per head
- Drinking fountain (each head)
- Hose bibb (interior)
- Clothes washer or laundry tub
- Sink, bar or lavatory
- Sink, Clinic flushing
- Sink, kitchen
- Sink, other (service)
- Sink, wash station, circle spray
- Urinal, flush valve, 1 gallon(s) per flush (GPF)
- Urinal, flush valve, >1 GPF
- Water closet, tank or valve, 1.6 GPF
- Water closet, tank or valve, >1.6 GPF
What if I need payment assistance?
You may qualify for a payment plan to catch up on late bills. To discuss payment plan options, please email: email@example.com or call 206-296-1450.
Some low-income units may also qualify for a discounted capacity charge.