Decatur Utilities plans for sewer fixes will mean increased rates


Heavy rains this month have caused wastewater to overflow from manholes throughout the City of Decatur.

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DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur Utilities has presented its board of directors with options to fix sanitary sewer issues in the city – all of which require the utility to increase wastewater rates for customers.

The utility presented four options to the board for rehabilitating about a million feet of sewer line and upgrading its wastewater treatment plant to accommodate more water during heavy rainfall.

During February approximately 20 million gallons of wastewater overflowed from Decatur’s sanitary sewer system. An estimated 4 million gallons overflowed in March and April.

The four options are for 5, 10, 15 and 20-year plans. The longer the option takes, the more expensive the cost for customers.

According to Decatur Utilities, the average residential wastewater bill is $21.43. Decatur Utilities general manager Ray Hardin said the five-year plan, which would cost customers an additional $36.29, is not feasible.

A 20-year plan would cost the average customer an additional $12.26 per month. the 15 and 10-year plans would cost an additional $17.26 and $22.26, respectively.

Decatur Utilities said the rate increase will be necessary for DU to borrow and service the debt needed to fund whichever plan is agreed upon. The plan will have to be approved by the board of directors and then presented to Decatur City Council for a vote.

Hardin said DU plans to present the proposed rate increase to Decatur City Council this fall. The goal is to go to the bond market and start construction by next spring.

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