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Wastewater contributes to higher water bills

Wastewater fees contributing to higher water bills
Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 20:58:18-04

While some residents have complained about their water usage doubling or more, water bills across the city are up overall.

The reason? Wastewater

Since 2018, the city has used an actual-use formula for calculating wastewater charges. While that meant lower-to-average bills earlier in the year, bills are way up this summer. Residents say that's not fair, because little of the water they're using actually ends up in the sewer.

Water use is up citywide this summer -- by about 20,000,000 gallons a day; and the more water used means the more the city charges for wastewater.

"The maximum is $161.75, which I'm paying that," said resident Dana Griffis.

Griffis is one of several homeowners paying the maximum charge. The group's complaint is that the water they're using is going in their pools, or on their foundations and lawns.

"If I'm using 2,000 gallons to water my yard, I shouldn't be charged that for wastewater as well," said Griffis.

According to Mayor Joe McComb, the city switched to usage billing because it could make millions in extra revenue. He says nobody anticipated how high bills would get.

"I don't know that it was a mistake," he saids. "I think the unintended consequences made a result."

According to city leaders, next year the city will go back to the old system of billing wastewater through winter averaging.