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Bend water, sewer rates increase again

Published On: Jul 05 2012 01:21:51 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 05 2012 01:23:10 PM CDT
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BEND, Ore. -

Bend water and sewer utility rates rose July 1, as they have each summer in recent years, to help pay for needed improvements to both systems, the city said Thursday.

Monthly rates for sewer customers will increase $2.44 per month. Most water customers will see the water charge on their monthly utility bills increase by $1.01 to $1.35 per month during the winter months and $1.40 to $4.30 per month during the summer months.

The table below shows estimated rate increases for low, medium and high residential water users. Ratepayers can determine their monthly water usage by reviewing their utility bill.

Today, a typical residential customer pays $300 - $800 per year for water.

Estimated Monthly Rate Increases for Residential Water Users

Low User                Medium User          High User
Winter Summer   Winter Summer       Winter Summer
(330 cf)* (940 cf)* (460 cf)* (1900 cf)*  (870 cf)* (4970 cf)*
$1.01      $1.40         $1.05     $2.09         $1.35       $4.30

*Average winter and summer monthly water rate consumption estimates used for low, medium, and high residential water users. Water consumption is measured in cubic feet (cf).

The rates increases are necessary to fund improvements to the city’s aging water and sewer utility infrastructure.

The Surface Water Improvement Project will update and improve the surface water component of the city's dual-source system, allowing flow control to minimize environmental impacts and providing residents continued access to high-quality drinking water, the city said.

Last March, the Bend City Council approved plans for a new project approach in an effort to minimize up-front costs of the project. The approach prioritizes the replacement of the aging pipelines and intake facility while postponing less critical project elements like the hydroelectric facility to allow for further evaluation.

The city also continues to work with state and federal agencies to extend the city’s deadline for compliance with Federal Safe Drinking Water regulations and delay construction of a water treatment plant. This has the potential to reduce water rate increases in the near-term.

For more information on the Surface Water Improvement Project, visit bendoregon.gov/surfacewater.

Improvements are also needed to the city’s sewer collection system and treatment plant.

The Bend Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Center and city teamed up to select a new 18-member citizen advisory committee for the Sewer System Master Plan update. This committee will begin its work this month and provide guidance on community priorities, treatment options and rate tolerance. For more information, visit bendoregon.gov/cityprojects.

In addition, the city has assistance programs to help eligible customers with their water, sewer and stormwater bills. For more information, call 541-388-5515.

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