Sewer project will cause spike in utility bills

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) – On Monday, the Monticello City Council voted to move forward on a more than 15 million dollar project to make upgrades to the city’s sewage system, including the city’s waste water treatment facility.

Monticello Mayor Ken Houston with the new project comes an increase in utility fees.

“It is going to increase the sewage rates for citizens of Monticello. It just is,” said Houston.

Houston said residents will see a 34 percent increase in their sewage bills, but said the short term cost will make a long term impact on the area’s fresh water.

“We going to have an expansion that is going to help us with upgrades, and our treatment capacity so that we can handle more of the combined sewage overflow at our plant and then reduce the amount of overflow that’s going into state waters,” said Houston.

Houston said the updates are mandatory in order for the city to meet federal requirements of combined sewage overflow into fresh water.

He said although the rules regarding overflow are enforced federally, the improvements are not funded by the government.

A low interest loan was used to fund the project, and sewage rates will increase to cover the costs.

“It seems to have hit us pretty hard in the Monticello because there are only 2,500 customers to help spread this cost over,” said Houston.

Although Monticello residents will see a sewage rate increase, Houston said the city must meet the federal mandates regarding CSO’s.

He said it will not only improve the conditions of the the sewage system in Monticello, it will improve the water quality for residents.

“That’s what this is all about. Making sure that any water that go into the waters in the state of Indiana have been treated,” said Houston.

Houston said the city has been making improvements over the past several years to meet the federal mandates.

There will be a public hearing at Monticello City Building at 6 p.m., July 21st  for people to learn more about the project.

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