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Chatham County water and sewer rates increasing

Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Water Department has announced increases in monthly water rates as well as connection tap fees, effective July 1, 2006. The rate increases were approved by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners on May 16, 2006, to help the county recoup the actual costs of the water system.

Roy Lowder, director of the Water Department, said that the county is in a major building phase in several parts of the county, which can be costly work. “State water bonds have dried up, federal grant sources continue to decline and most grant programs are restricted to poorer counties.”

Most of the county’s water rates are based on usage to encourage water conservation practices. “Most public water systems today have lower connection fees and monthly water usage rates for lower-volume users. The goal is to reward people who are wise stewards of our valuable water resources,” said Lowder.

The larger increases were applied to the one-time charges related to connecting to the county water system, which includes both an availability fee and a tap fee. The availability fee is based on water meter size, so that higher volume users must pay more for the equipment needed to serve their facility. For example, most residents use the smallest meter size (20 gallons per minute) listed below:

Meter size Capacity per minute Current availability fee New availability fee
5/8” & 3/4” 20 gallons $1,750 $3,500
1” 50 gallons $3,500 $7,000
1.5” 100 gallons $5,000 $10,000
2” 160 gallons $8,000 $16,000
3” 350 gallons $15,000 $30,000
4” 630 gallons $20,000 $40,000
6” 1,500 gallons $60,000 $120,000

As to tap fees, residential customers with the smallest water meter capacity (20 gallons per minute) will pay a flat tap fee of $1,000 plus the availability fee of $3,500 to tap on to an existing county waterline. However, customers requiring large capacity meters, such as major businesses, industries and poultry farmers, will be billed for the actual county cost to install the tap plus the availability fee noted above for their meter size.

“The important point about connection charges is that residential customers in areas where new county waterlines are slated to be installed in the next few months can qualify for major discounts if they sign up to tap on to the county water system before waterlines pass their homes. If the waterlines are already in the ground by your residence, you have to pay the full rates,” Lowder said.

Multi-unit complexes (including commercial and industrial complexes) and new residential subdivisions should contact the Water Department about connection charge options.

The monthly water rates for most customers will increase by $1.00 per 1,000 gallons. As of July 1, the county will apply its tiered rate structure (higher rates for larger-volume users) to commercial, non-industrial customers (convenience stores, offices, etc.), which had previously paid a flat rate of $6.00 per 1,000 gallons used. The tiered rate structure will continue to apply to single and multi-family residential customers, including apartments and condos.

The new monthly usage rates for all residential and commercial (non-industrial) customers are:

Gallons per month Current rate per
1,000 gallons New rate per 1,000 gallons
Up to 5,000 gallons $6.00 $7.00
5,001-8,000 gallons $7.50 $8.50
8,001 or more gallons $9.00 $10.00

As of July 1, the county also will increase monthly wastewater rates and has based these rates on levels of consumption for the first time, but the county only provides wastewater in the Bynum area at this time. Wastewater rates increase for all sewer customers from a flat rate of $6.00 per 1,000 gallons to:

• $7.00 per 1,000 gallons for up to 5,000 gallons usage per month;

• $8.50 per 1,000 gallons for 5,001-8,000 gallons used per month; and

• $10.00 per 1,000 gallons for those using 8,001 or more gallons per month.

A few other water system fees will change after July 1, including the meter installation fee (increases from $125 to $200) and the customer deposit for renters only (from $60 to $80 per household).

However, several rates will not change, including the deposit required of homeowner customers and reconnection fees for those who have had water service disconnected due to non-payment.

For more information on water rate changes, contact the Water Department at 542-8270.

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Chatham County water and sewer rates increasing

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