Sewer rates to increase again in Lane County

Sewer rates to increase again in Lane County »Play Video
Sewage treatment costs money

EUGENE, Ore. – Every time water goes down your drain, there’s a cost - and the price is about to rise.

The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission has proposed a 3.5 percent rate increase for regional wastewater user fees.

Last year, the commission implemented a 3 percent increase.

General Manager Matt Stouder said this will affect residents of Springfield, Eugene and unincorporated Lane County.

“The forecast for this year was a 4 percent increase,” Stouder said. “We reanalyzed it and came in slightly lower at a 3.5 percent rate increase.”

Stouder said both cities and the county have the option to decide the appropriate increases on the basis of the recommendation.

He said most cities and counties across the nation are experiencing the same increases.

“They’re having the same growth concerns, they’re having the same environmental impacts placed on them and they have the same aging infrastructure issues that we do here.”

There a variety of factors that affect rate increases:

1. Debt service requirements for previous bonds to fund previous capital projects

2. Changing environmental regulations being passed down from the federal EPA to communities

3. Ongoing maintenance of existing systems, infrastructure

“We’re looking to avoid future rate spikes by doing modest and incremental rate increases,” Stouder said. “We are continuing to provide for the health and safety and the protection of the Willamette river and our local environment.”

Stouder said the the average monthly residential bill will rise from about $1.50 per month to $1.90 per month.

He said the yearly increase will be less than $20 per year for those users.

“Given the amount of money that we’ve invested in our systems that we have as a community, it’s a small amount of increase to continue to keep up with what we have,” he said.

Stouder saidresidents should see rate increases for the next three to four years as more stringent environmental regulations will be handed down to communities.

Area residents could see rates rise as early as summer.