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New Sewer Rates in Small Town

photograph from Working story

(11/9/2006)

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The state of California has new clean water standards. This means that all counties in the state will need to meet these standards. When permits at a sewage treatment plants expire the facility must rebuild in order to meet the new regulations.

When a sewage plant is upgraded all of the customers in the area share the cost of the improvements. The money required to improve a facility is passed on to customers as a rate increase. As permits expire in large cities the cost to customers should not be too much because there are a lot of people living there.

This is not true for people who live in small cities. Their costs will increase quite a bit. One small city is facing a very large increase in sewer rates. Their rates will more than double. Some people are saying that they will not be able to afford the cost.

It will cost about $6.4 million to update the current facility in one small city. Only 83 families live in this area. They will have to pay much more money than a person living in a very large city. One man said that his new sewage rates would be higher than his property taxes. It would cost his family fifty-two cents per hour for sewer service. That will be about $3 each time he needs to flush the toilet. It will cost about 10 times more to pour a glass of water down the drain than it does to fill the glass in the first place.

Many more small areas will face the same problem very soon. The people that live there have prepared reports and gathered signatures to give to lawmakers in Sacramento. They hope to get some help with this problem.

If they do not have a new plant up and running by the time their current permit expires they will be punished. They will face fines of several thousand dollars each day for being out of compliance with new clean water standards. They hope to get help from lawmakers before this happens.

(This was adapted from an original story provided by News10 Rewrite.)

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