Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District Board contemplates raising sewer rates
December 16, 2015
Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District (SBWRD) customers may notice a slight increase to their monthly bills beginning next month.
The SBWRD Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider raising the monthly wastewater volume and service charges for the next two years during a public hearing Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Board of Trustees District’s office, 2800 Homestead Road. The board will also consider the 2016 budget at the meeting.
If approved, the 2016 fees would increase two percent. The waste volume charge would go from $2.48 to $2.53 per 1,000 gallons and the service charge would go from $26.14 to $26.66. The changes would take effect Jan. 1 and apply to all customers. User fees are collected on a monthly basis, however, commercial and industrial fees are calculated on a case-by-case basis, according to the district website.
"We have tried very hard to limit our increases to very small amounts and we think two to three percent is relatively minor," Mike Luers, SBWRD general manager. "We have done a lot of work to reduce expenditures here at the district, but we have these large capital projects that are needed to help our environment.
"For existing users what we have done is we have had small increases over the last several years so there is not a large increase," Luers said.
The increase in rates accounts for inflation and will help fund a portion of the $48 million Silver Creek Facility Project to rebuild the existing structure, Luers said. The current facility will be torn down and rebuilt as an advanced wastewater treatment plant capable of handling four million gallons of wastewater a day. The current facility handles two million gallons.
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"This is the largest project we have ever embarked on and fees are necessary to pay for that," Luers said.
The majority of the project, about 93 percent, will be paid for by new development through impact fees, Luers said. The remaining 7 percent, or approximately $3.4 million, will be paid for by existing customers.
"As the community grows and the amount of wastewater continues to increase, our local and mountain streams and reservoirs can only take so much so we have to reduce the amount of it," Luers said.
The SBWRD has been working with the Division of Water Quality for several years to assess the health of the local streams and reservoirs. An environmental study indicated high levels of various nutrients are causing environmental issues, Luers said.
"A facility like this will be capable of removing these nutrients, just like we do at the East Canyon Water Reclamation Facility, to protect our local streams and reservoirs," Luers said.
Jan Wilking, chair of the SBWRD, said rate increases reflect necessary improvements.
"We are trying to keep them to the very minimum of what we have to," Wilking said. "We have had to increase our rates in the past and part of it is the costs of the operating system. If someone pays attention to their bills I’m sure they will notice the increase."
The Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, which collects and treats sewage, serves an area of approximately 105 square miles throughout western Summit County, including Park City. The district has two reclamation facilities, 12 pump stations and nearly 300 miles of pipelines.
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