Check out this important Public Service Message:
Please, remember- NO WIPES DOWN THE PIPES!
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Certified operators and laboratory personnel oversee the entire Wastewater System and processes 24 hours per day, every day of the year. This steadfast commitment ensures that our systems always exceed the requirements set by regulatory bodies for operations and discharge.
The Public Works Department staffs a State Certified Laboratory responsible for testing and monitoring water quality. Testing is performed throughout the entire reclamation processes to ensure that the reclaimed water causes no harm to our environment.
The City of Billings wastewater reclamation and sanitary sewer system consists of:
- Wastewater Reclamation Facility
- 483 miles of sanitary sewer main
- Eleven sewer lift stations
Septic Tank and Grease Trap Waste
Be sure your waste is being properly and legally disposed, use a licensed area hauler. Appointments for disposal must be made in advance by calling The Wastewater Reclamation Facility at (406) 657-8356.
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Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG) OverviewAll food service establishments that are connected to public sewers must have an approved grease system, such as grease traps, interceptors and other devices that keep fats, oils, grease (FOG) and food debris out of sewer pipes.
FOG is a problem for food service establishments, as FOG can buildup and clog sewer pipes and cause costly overflows and backups within businesses. It is bad for business and bad for public health and the environment.
When fats, oils or grease (FOG) enter the sewer lines, it cools, solidifies and sticks to the insides of the pipes, trapping food particles and other debris. Over time, this mass continues to grow until it obstructs the flow of wastewater and causes sewage to back up.
Additional InformationAdditional information is located in the City’s FOG Brochure, below:
IT’S THE LAWSection 26-604 of the Billings Municipal City Code (BMCC) specifies that unless prior written authorization is provided by the city, it is unlawful to discharge or cause to be discharged into the waste disposal station any industrial wastes, radioactive wastes, corrosive wastes, explosive mixtures, unpolluted waters, petroleum oils, mineral oils, non-biodegradable cutting oils, chemical wastes, toxic or poisonous substances, float-able fats, wax and grease.
Kitchen Best Management Practices
- Clean vent hoods and filters regularly
- Protect drains with a screen
- Prevent spills of fats, oils and grease
- Dry scrape leftovers into a trash bin, not the sink
- Empty trash bins before they overflow
- Clean and cover outdoor recycling area
- Keep records of cleaning, inspections and service
- Train staff on Best Management Practices to keep FOG out of sewer pipes
- Don’t connect dishwashers to the grease system
- Don’t put degreasers in the system (they just push FOG into sewers)
- Don’t wash kitchen equipment outdoors
- Don’t allow FOG into storm drains, catch basins, etc.
- Don’t improperly dispose of fats, oils and grease
Wastewater Reclamation Facility History
In 1945, the first steps were taken to provide for the treatment of the City of Billings wastewater. Subsequently, a 15 million gallon per day (MGD) treatment plant was constructed, and was placed in service in 1950. In the early 1970s, the treatment plant was enlarged to provide both primary and secondary treatment for an average wastewater flow of 26 MGD and a maximum flow of 40 MGD.
The Activated Sludge Process The City’s wastewater treatment plant is designed to receive 33,000 pounds per day of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) and 42,000 pounds per day of total suspended solids (TSS).
Unit processes utilized at the City’s treatment plant includes:
- Grit removal
- Primary and secondary clarification
- Dissolved air flotation of waste activated sludge
- Gravity thickening of primary sludge
- Anaerobic digestion followed by centrifuge de-watering
The complete-mix mode of the activated sludge biological process is utilized for secondary treatment. The bio-solids, screenings, and grit are buried at the City’s sanitary landfill on a daily basis. The effluent of the City’s wastewater treatment plant is discharged into the Yellowstone River just downstream of the U.S. 87 E. Highway bridge.
The Water Reclamation Facility is currently under construction to increase capacity and upgrade treatment to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater to meet more stringent state discharge requirements. The facility will begin removing nitrogen and phosphorus in 2019 with final completion of the construction projected for early 2020.
- City of Billings Rules and Regulations Governing Water and Wastewater Service (PDF)
- Federal Safe Drinking Water Act
- Administrative Rules of Montana
The wastewater treatment plant has an on-site laboratory that is capable of performing nearly all permit required testing as well as process control samples.
Laboratory Technicians Perform Specialized Test Procedures on Wastewater Samples
Each month, we submit a detailed report to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality documenting our compliance with all applicable regulations. We publish a monthly water quality report for the Yellowstone River, which is our water source.
Access the current water quality data:
Under its Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) permit, the City is required to provide secondary treatment to all collected wastewater prior to discharging into the Yellowstone River, as well as meet the MPDES permit requirements for e-coli bacteria, pH, grease, total chlorine residual and effluent toxicity.
The plant also holds permits issued by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality Permits for stormwater discharges, bio-solids disposal, and air emissions generated from the methane burning generator.
The current rates and fees were adopted by the City Council on May 28, 2019 and became effective July 1, 2019. View Resolution 19-10796 (PDF).
The wastewater rate structure consists of two components:
- The monthly service charge based on the size of the meter.
- A volume charge that is based on the amount of wastewater created. This metric is reflective of the 4 tier rate structure displayed above under water rates.
The City of Billings regularly reviews the water and wastewater rates to determine whether the current rates are generating adequate revenue to cover the cost of providing safe drinking water and wastewater services to the entire community. Safe drinking water and reliable infrastructure is a priority for the City in order to accommodate current needs and future growth.
Wastewater Monthly Volume Charges
|Customer Class||Rate per ccf|
|Residential (In and Out of City)||$3.50|
|Commercial - Domestic Strength||$3.50|
|Commercial - High Strength||$6.70|
Billings Public Works may propose an increase to existing rates when necessary. These changes would be reflected in the fixed monthly minimum charges and the volume charges for water and wastewater, private fire protection, permit and other miscellaneous special fees.
The rate adjustments are needed to cover the increasing cost of service due to community growth and increased utilization. Providing for necessary future improvements and facility expansion to accommodate the needs of the community is also a consideration when rate changes are requested.
To request service or make changes to your account please call our service center at 406-657-8315.