You don’t have to look far for evidence that everything seems to cost more these days. Like your grocery bill, the expenses for BJWSA to provide quality water and wastewater services continue to grow.
We know there is never a perfect time to increase rates, but we must operate sustainably to assure reliable service that meets all regulations protecting your health and our environment. There is currently a rate change under consideration by the BJWSA Board of Directors that will be voted on at their June meeting.
If approved, the change will increase monthly water and sewer bills for average residential customers (7,000 gallons/month) by $8.24–27 cents per day. Average customers who only receive water service, will see an increase of $4.17 per month–14 cents per day. These rates would go into effect July 1, 2023 and appear on bills delivered in August.
The decision to increase rates is never made without tremendous consideration. However, it is important that the Authority maintain a sustainable budget and as our costs increase, so must our rates. Expenses related to important initiatives like replacing failing pipes for better reliability, eliminating old galvanized water lines and replacing outdated equipment are on the rise. In fact, since our last rate change, our operational expenses have increased substantially primarily due to items such as materials, ongoing system maintenance, personnel, power and chemicals
With regulatory expectations becoming stricter concerning the presence of contaminants like PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as forever chemicals), we expect the cost pressures to continue. Our Board and leadership team continually seek ways to avoid steep rate increases and pursue opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs. BJWSA is also looking to polluters to take responsibility for the water contamination they cause by joining a class action lawsuit against the producers of forever chemicals. We believe the people who profited from their production should be responsible for their cleanup.
We know that rate increases impact customers differently. Here are a few steps to consider to help reduce your water and wastewater costs:
- Our free EyeOnWater phone application can detect leaks, monitor typical use and help detect hidden sources of water loss – which can account for more than 10% of water usage.
- For those that meet certain qualifications payment assistance is available. You can learn more about how to access these funds on our website at https://www.bjwsa.org/helping-people-need/
- Finally, those who water their landscape can help reduce the strain on our water system and the need to expand production by participating in our Irrigation Management program by avoiding irrigation on Mondays and during peak hours of 3 AM to 9 AM, and watering on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at odd-numbered addresses or Wednesday, Friday and Sundays at even-numbered addresses. Learn more about water use, go to bjwsa.org/water-use.
We hope this helps explain the need for the rate change and the importance of continued improvements in our system for you, those you care about and our community.