Ronald Wastewater Assumption


City and Ronald Wastewater District unify services in 2017


In 2002, the City and Ronald Wastewater District entered into an Interlocal Operating Agreement to unify sewer services with City operations. The Agreement outlines the unification process between the City and the District which is to occur in October 2017. The City will acquire the sewer utility through an assumption, which means all assets, reserve funds, employees, equipment and any District debt will be assumed by the City and the Ronald Wastewater District will cease to exist as a separate government entity. With a few exceptions the ratepayers of the Ronald Wastewater District are Shoreline taxpayers. 

In order to facilitate a smooth consolidation, the City and District agreed to a 15-year time frame for the transition in the 2002 agreement. During that time, the District has and will continue to operate as a Special Purpose District in Shoreline under the guidance of a franchise agreement with the City.

Benefits of Unification

Consolidating Ronald Wastewater District with the City will:

  • Achieve efficiencies through reduced overhead and streamlined operational costs;
  • Provide better customer service through combined utility billing, coordinated information responses, and “one stop” customer service and permitting;
  • Provide ratepayers with a more transparent process for rate-setting and decision-making by having a single group of Shoreline-elected officials accountable to Shoreline voters;
  • Provide ratepayers with better access to information and channels of communication with a single website and unified customer service operations for both utilities and the City;
  • Provide a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to reinvesting in Shoreline infrastructure, aiding in redevelopment of different parts of the City; and
  • Provide more financial and human resources to the utility in the event of an emergency.

The City also conducted a Utility Unification and Efficiency Study in 2014 to provide an estimate of efficiency savings associated with unifying specific utilities with City operations. Included in this study was the Ronald Wastewater District assumption. View the study.

Assumption Process

There are four steps in the assumption process:

  1. Formally authorize the assumption (Ordinance No. 681 passed by Council, December 9, 2013)
  2. File notice with the King and Snohomish Boundary Review Boards of the City's intent to assume Ronald Wastewater District (completed May 27, 2014)
  3. Begin transition planning (in process)
  4. Implement the transition plan in anticipation of official assumption on October 23, 2017

Boundary Review Board Approval 

On May 27, 2014, the City submitted its Notices of Intent to Assume RWD to the King County and Snohomish County BRBs. The BRBs are responsible for reviewing proposals for boundary changes by cities, fire districts, and water/sewer districts within their respective counties, including city or district annexations, new city incorporations, and district mergers.

On September 18, 2014, the King County BRB entered their written decision to approve the City’s assumption of the RWD. In Snohomish County on the other hand, on September 11, 2014, the Snohomish County BRB voted to deny the City’s assumption of the District’s very small service area in southwestern Snohomish County. The City filed an appeal of this decision to Snohomish County Superior Court on October 9, 2014. This case is still under appeal.

Committee of Elected Officials

The third and current step in the assumption process is planning for the assumption. Ronald Wastewater District and the City began jointly planning for the assumption of the utility in June 2014. Two members of the City Council and two Ronald Wastewater District board members are serving on a transition committee, the Committee of Elected Officials (CEO), which has been meeting monthly since June 2014. The CEO's goal is to develop a transition plan by the end of 2015.


If you would like to communicate with the City of Shoreline or review a document in another language, please send your request along with your contact information to the email address below or call (206) 801-2700.

Multiple languages 2014