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<br />Office of the Mayor <br />NEWS RELEASE <br />June 25, 2010 <br />Council considers rate increase to meet sewer mandates <br />Contact: <br />Mikki Dobski, Director of Communications & Special Projects, 235-5855 or 876-1564 <br />or Gary Gilot, Director of Public Works, 235-9251 <br />The South Bend Common Council will conduct a public hearing Monday on a proposed <br />sewer-rate increase to fund the next phase of federally mandated improvements to reduce <br />basement backups and combined sewer overflows into the St. Joseph River. <br />To comply with the Clean Water Act, the City of South Bend must implement a 20-year, <br />$400-million plan for the long-term control of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Since <br />2006, the City has invested $43 million to reduce CSOs and the problems associated with <br />them. Work has included expansion of the 54-year-old Wastewater Treatment Plant and <br />extensive efforts to separate combined sewers and build capacity for additional storage. <br />Between 2010 and 2013, the City must spend another $54 million to make continued <br />progress on the long-term control plan. Projects will include additional separation of <br />storm and sanitary sewers, expanded capacity to retain storm water and a greater <br />emphasis on green solutions, which address storm drainage through natural alternatives <br />on-site. <br />Where sewer rates increased in stages by a cumulative 79 percent between 2006 and <br />2009, proposed rate increases over the next four years will be about half as much. The <br />Council is considering increases of 8 percent in 2010 (beginning July 1) and 9 percent <br />annually in 2011-13. For the average homeowner, it will mean an increase of about a <br />dime a day. Other rates on the monthly South Bend utilities bill are expected to hold <br />steady or decrease over the same period. (That would result in less than a 3 percent <br />increase in residents’ total municipal utility bill.) <br />Even after four years of the proposed increases, South Bend sewer rates will still be lower <br />than current rates in Mishawaka and other Indiana cities. <br /> <br />