SAWS holds public meeting on rate hike

Increase to fund sewer infrastructure needs

Author: Myra Arthur, Reporter, Anchor,
Published On: Nov 28 2012 08:37:54 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 28 2012 10:58:07 PM CST

San Antonio Water System held one of several public meetings Wednesday evening on its proposed 9.9 percent rate increase.

SAWS Vice President of Public Affairs, Greg Flores, says the increase would pay for cleaning and updating the infrastructure of the city’s sewer system.

Numerous sewage back-ups and overflows have been reported across the city due to things being poured down drains and flushed down toilets that shouldn’t be, says SAWS.

Grease is the biggest culprit.

SAWS also reports that workers have found items like a tire, television, couch and even car transmission in the sewer system.

The problem has been ongoing for at least the last 5 years when SAWS was contacted by the Environmental Protection Agency. SAWS has been in discussions with the EPA ever since on how to eliminate the issue.

SAWS estimates that the rate hike would amount to an additional $4.93 per month for the average customer.

“About half of it would go toward cleaning the pipes… physically going in and cleaning out any debris that gets into the pipes, whether it be from people's homes or businesses or vandalism," said Flores.

To fully understand the scope of the problem, SAWS is using cameras to navigate the pipes which Flores says often uncovers other issues such as cracks or needed repairs.

The maintenance would be ongoing and Flores says to expect more proposed rate increases in the future.

The city council will vote on the current proposal January 31, 2013.

Fewer than half a dozen people attended Wednesday’s meeting at the SAWS headquarters, but the company will hold a total of 20 meetings across the city’s 10 districts.

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