Winter Brings Increase in Wastewater Bill for Some Homeowners

Created: 03/14/2014 7:25 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) – With frozen pipes being an issue this winter, many residents have been asked to run their water to prevent it. Now, some are getting sticker shock after receiving their first water bill.

Just about every community in our area has asked residents to check their water temperature and if it’s at or below freezing, keep it running at a pencil width stream to keep the pipes from freezing up. Well, that precautionary measure isn’t free.

It's not necessarily the water that's extra costly but the wastewater. Chatfield City Clerk Joel Young used one home as an example. They averaged at 4,100  gallons of water in January and used about 16,000 gallons the next month because they started running. Their water and sewer bill would’ve been about $75 for 4,100 gallons of use and, based on 16,000 gallons, it would’ve been over $200. However, the City of Chatfield has decided to only charge residents their 12 month average. Several other communities including Austin, have also agreed to help out in some way.

"If you’re having a hard time putting food on the table it’s tough and that's something that entered in to our city councils mind. It’s been a hard winter, people are paying more in fuel, it’s been hard to get around, you've got water main breaks, let’s not pile it on," said Young.

As of right now Rochester isn’t helping with the bill but we were just told they are considering other options for customers and say they'll have it an answer next week.