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.