Lower Burrell homeowners will soon pay about 20 percent more in sewage fees
Lower Burrell is raising its sewer rates by 21 percent.
The new rates will be reflected in customers’ quarterly bills, which will arrive in the next few weeks, according to city officials.
The average customer currently pays $81.81 per quarter. The same customer will now pay $98.71 per quarter.
That’s an increase of about $17 per quarter, according to Councilman Rob Hamilton.
The higher sewage bills reflect higher consumption, which is based on water usage. The rate increased from $3.56 per 100 cubic feet of water consumption to $5.65 per 100 cubic feet.
There are several expenses driving the higher bills, Hamilton said.
The Municipal Sanitary Authority of New Kensington, which treats Lower Burrell’s sewage, has increased its rates while the city is paying for ongoing sewer projects including fixes to the city’s system ordered by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“It’s my job to assure we are able to process sewage and follow all mandates from the government,” Hamilton said.
Lower Burrell, New Kensington, Arnold and Plum have been required by the federal and state governments to eliminate groundwater runoff and rainwater from entering its sanitary sewer system. That’s to prevent overflows into streams, rivers, homes and the environment during heavy rains.
Last year, Lower Burrell worked on cracks, breaks and leaks in its sewage system.
Although Lower Burrell separated its sanitary and storm lines, there is still work to be done, Hamilton said.
“We will do everything to explore federal funding so taxpayers don’t have to reach into their pockets to pay for these unfunded mandates.”
The last sewage rate increase was in 2016, Hamilton said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .