SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – If you live in Sioux City, your sewer bill could soon see an increase.
Sioux City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility is in need of upgrades, and the Sioux City City Council is in the process of reviewing possible sewer rate increases.
“Residential, commercial users for the wastewater treatment plant facility, their increase will be for the first year 20 percent, the second year ten percent, and each year thereafter proposed that it would be three percent,” Sioux City’s Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Moore said. “The industrial users will be 30%, second year 20% increase, third year 20% increase, and thereafter 5% each year.”
Those increased rates will continue for at least the next 10 years to cover the cost of reconstruction of the 61-year-old wastewater facility.
“For many many years, we have had a wastewater treatment plant that we have put money in and have tried, well, and have made improvements to the plant itself. We have now reached the point where the facility is in dire needs of lots of improvements,” Pro-Tem Moore said.
The city’s utilities director explains how urgent improvements are to the wastewater plant.
“Our facility is undergoing a lot of corrosion because of the nature of our waste streams that we are treating,” Sioux City’s Utilities Director Tom Pingel said. “So we have corrosion at our pipes we have corrosion at multiple spots at our tanks that are concrete, we can we rebar in our concrete now. You can see the aggregate falling in our tanks. Our facility is at 100 percent capacity. So all of our pumps, all of our blowers, all of our processes are online so there is no redundancy. So if one of our blowers were to break, we don’t have another one to turn on.”
Pingel says the reconstruction project will cost approximately $400 million, however this decision will end up saving ratepayers money.
“Our facility plan called out that this was the best alternative, and building a brand new plant was nearly a billion dollars. And that was not feasible. We did not want to put that on our ratepayers and our industries to see that type of big jump in their rates which would be even, maybe times two of what we’re seeing now be proposed,” Pingel said.
“The upgrades are necessary for, I think two reasons. One is compliance with the state law and state regulations. The second reasons for these improvements and upgrades is Industrial users, It’s very important to them. It’s important for us for economic development that we have a proper wastewater treatment plant facility that can be relied on,” Moore said.