SAWS: Sewage spill points to need for rate hike

63,000 gallons spilled near Wurzbach Parkway

Author: Paul Venema, Reporter,
Published On: Dec 05 2012 04:15:16 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 06 2012 02:15:57 AM CST

San Antonio Water Systems crews were busy cleaning up 63,000 gallons of raw sewage near Wurzbach Parkway and Weidner Road Wednesday morning.

At SAWS headquarters near downtown, the utility’s staff was preparing to brief City Council on the system’s proposed 9.9 percent rate hike.

The bulk of that proposed rate increase -- $159.9 million -- will go toward paying for improving the city’s sewer system.

“We have to improve our infrastructure and we have to regularly scour all these pipes and literally clean them with soap and jets,” said SAWS spokeswoman Anne Hayden.

Hayden was watching crews clean up the latest spill on the North side.

“When (a spill) happens, even if it isn’t affecting a home or business, it’s very expensive,’ Hayden said.

The water system’s five-year spending plan also addresses the city’s water needs.

It calls for spending $297 million for a desalinization plant and another $149 million to pipe in water from the Carrizo Aquifer in Gonzalez County.

SAWS representatives will brief the City Council on the proposed rate increases on Thursday.

The council will formally vote on the rate hike on Jan. 31.