Sewer Fees

The Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District collects waste water from Orleans, Spirit Lake, Okoboji, Arnolds Park, West Okoboji, Milford, Wahpeton and some of the incorporated areas around the Iowa Great Lakes.

The Sanitary District funding comes from two sources.  The first is sewer usage fees and the second is property taxes.  These two funding streams allow for the Sanitary District to operate and maintain the over 100 miles of sewer pipe, 64 pumping stations (lift stations), that operate the only wastewater treatment plant for the Iowa Great Lakes.  On average the Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District treats 2.5 million gallons of wastewater a day.


Under Iowa Code, Sanitary District's are allowed to levy a property tax.  Part of this levy is for operations and part of the levy is for debt service for construction projects.  The Sanitary District levy has been around $2.50 per $1,000 of evaluation for over 30 years.  Of that $2.50, $0.54 goes to operations and the remainder goes to debt service for construction projects.  Tax reform that took place with the Iowa Legislature in 2023 may have some impacts to how this levy looks in the future.


New sewer usage fees went into effect On July 1, 2023.  This was the first fee increase to from the Sanitary District since 2008.  There were a few changes to make adjustments to make costs more equitable for the users of the system.

For properties that the Sanitary District receives a meter reading from a public water supplier, the rates changed with the base charge went up $1.00 to $6.00 per month ($72.00 per year) and usage went up $0.30 to $1.75 for every 1,000 gallons of water used.

Properties that the Sanitary District does not receive meter reading from a public water supplier, or "Unmetered Properties" saw the same rate increases as above.  The water usage for the unmetered properties are estimated.  The estimated rates were broken down in the regular and seasonal.  The seasonal rate went away because there was not for sure way to determine a property was seasonal.  The regular rates were being charged for 40,000 gallon of usage per year.  The was determined to be lower than the average usage and the estimated amounts were increased to the average amount for residential properties to 50,000 gallon of usage per year. These rates are now set at $79.75 every six months.

Properties that are on Iowa Lakes Regional Water will see this increase, because we do not receive meter reading from them. The Sanitary District is working with Iowa Lakes Regional Water to get meter reading in the future.

The unmetered commercial, restaurants and dinning halls also have the same rates as listed above.  The number of gallons was increased for these uses.  A commercial property went up to 80,000 gallons used annually.  Restaurants and dining halls usage went up to 300,000 gallons per year.

The other increase was to trailer camps, RV facilities, trailer resorts and tourist grounds primitive camping.  These properties pay a lower property taxes to the Sanitary District when looked at the per unit cost.  Each of these units provides the same demand as a single family home to the sewer system.  The Sanitary District can't look at the seasonal use of a property, because the system must be built to handle the highest one (1) hour flow for the entire year.  When properties have high density and low taxes paid to the Sanitary District, it creates an unequitable system.  This was found out during a study and evaluation of the sewer rates to be focused on trailer camps, RV facilities, trailer resorts and tourist grounds primitive camp sites.  The rate was set as a flat rate of $250.00 per unit per year.  The rate offsets the operational revenue loss from property taxes for these type of facilities and creates a more equitable system of billings for the same demand on the highest one hour flow of the year.

If you are buying a new property, selling property or renting a place where tenant is responsible for paying the sewer, you need to contact the Sanitary District office or you can provide the information online.  CHANGE OF ACCOUNT INFORMATION

The last rate change for the Sanitary District was in December of 2007.