City council passed an ordinance to increase sewer rates earlier this year...
The increase is five dollars more per month or ten dollars bi-monthly. Director of Public Service Mike Sims said the price hike covers debts on the combined sewer separation program, mandated by the EPA.
"They're major sewer separation projects, they're all over a million dollars a piece. And the only way we can really fund it is through, you know, an incremental rate increase to pay for the debt service on the loans that we'll have to take," said Sims.
It will cost around 36 million dollars to complete all the projects by 2022. Sims said one of the biggest projects will be the Y-Bridge lift station.
"It's kind of a critical project. If we don't get that rehab before it fails, then we will have a non-stop, continuous, bypass of combined sewer into the river, which is obviously not a good thing...It'd be frowned on by the EPA and pushed real hard to get that done."
The Y-Bridge project will begin in early 2013.