Public Works Begins 25-Year Sewer Investment

3/1/2021 12:00:00 AM

New agreement brings predictability to sewer rates

Since 2013, the Unified Government has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop a 25-year sewer investment plan that will further support the Public Works Department’s ongoing efforts to address sewer overflows and basement backups in our community.

After seven years of dedicated effort, the Unified Government adopted the investment plan as part of a recent consent decree agreement between the Unified Government, EPA, and DOJ. Unlike most agreements that have been approved in communities with combined sewer overflows across the country, a key part of the Unified Government’s agreement is the flexibility it provides to modify the consent decree to address future cost concerns.

The Public Works Department is committed to serving the community and protecting the environment today and into the future. This commitment requires long-term investments to maintain the community’s aging sewer system and meet federal regulations.

“Over the next 25 years, we plan to invest approximately $900 million in our sewer system,” says Jeff Fisher, Director of Public Works. “This investment is just one part of our commitment to continue delivering efficient, reliable, and sustainable infrastructure and service.”

According to Fisher, the plan focuses on updating existing sewer infrastructure, meeting federal regulations, and developing ways for new construction to provide multiple benefits to the community.

The plan also establishes consistent and manageable sewer rates over the next 25 years, which will provide predictable funding for future investments through steady marginal rate increases that are projected to be at or below five percent each year. For comparison, annual sewer rate increases in the Unified Government have averaged six percent over the last 20 years, peaking at 15 percent in 2011 and 2012.

Sewer rates for 2021 increased five percent — resulting in a $2.30 increase on an average residential monthly bill. The Unified Government will use this investment to meet our consent decree obligations and create a safe and healthy environment for our community.

“The end result of our commitment will be a more reliable sewer system and a cleaner environment for generations to come,” says Fisher.

To learn more about future sewer infrastructure investments, please visit wycokck.org/Water.