City Looks to Hike Water, Sewer Rates in 2013

Lakewood City Council to vote on the measures on Dec. 17.

As part of the discussion for next year’s city budget, Lakewood City Council is considering raising both the water and the sewer rates.

City officials are looking to increase the sewer rates by 10 percent in 2013 in an effort to offset the cost of future sewer repairs mandated by the EPA.

The topic came up during a round of budget negotiations on Saturday, reported LoveLakewood.com.

Last week, an official from the EPA set up shop for a few days at Lakewood City Hall to examine the city’s storm water runoff.

With Lakewood reporting in 2010 that 91.4 million gallons of storm/sewer water were dumped into Lake Erie, the EPA is forcing the city to make some changes.

Those fixes to the city’s infrastructure could be expensive — as much as $500 million.

Mayor Michael Summers said that the meetings with the EPA official went well last week.  In the coming weeks, the city will be issued an “order on consent,” which is an agreement to begin repairs.

The specific solutions haven’t quite been ironed out yet, but to start, one of the possibilities is a sewer separation line at Abbieshire and Summit avenues.

“Those are the kinds of investments we need to make to prevent overflows and if do have overflows to make sure that it’s clean water,” Summers said.

 “Our strategy is to keep going, or else at some point (the EPA) may lose patience,” he added.

Meanwhile, water rates may also increase by 3 percent in 2013.

“Water rates go up because people are consuming dramatically less water,” said Summers. ”The cost to maintain the system is the same. The cost per unit has to go up for the capacity to manage it.”

Lakewood City Council is expected to vote on both measures, following final budget talks, at its Dec. 17 meeting.

Brandon Scullion December 04, 2012 at 06:25 PM
2 family home. 4 occupants. 150 per month on average. Any higher and I may have to evict some people.
michael bastian December 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM
if residents are using dramatically less water, then the problem of storm runoff is that it has not changed and may or not be variable according to historical data. What was acceptable 39 years ago may not be at present. Cities that have reduced their usage should be allowed some leeway in how new infrastructure should be cost assessed. It seems the definitions regarding water and its impact are being pulled from an ancient dictionary. Fighting the old war as it has been said.
Lakewood21 December 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM
We moved to Lakewood 17 years ago. Our bill use to be about $100 for 3 months. Now it is $100 every month. That seems to be an amazing increase. We pay more for water here on Lake Erie than they do in Tucson, Arizona. I really don't understand why.
Brandon Scullion December 05, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I pay more for water then I do for nat gas. Sometimes nat gas and electric combined. How messed up is that?
Harriet Petti December 06, 2012 at 04:34 AM
These systems are old systems and the amount of overflow that was acceptable for runoff led us down the path to bacteria levels in our lake that left it unsafe for use. We have to put the money into the infrastructure, even with water use down, we still have waste water and sewage to treat. We are so lucky to have easy and reliable access to water, if it means 3% hike in our sewage bill, I'm ok with that.


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