Waste Water Treatment Plant Update - January 30, 2017
In 1986, the City of Pontiac completed a major upgrade to the sewage treatment plant. While the plant has sufficient capacity, the plant is over 31 years old, surpassing its design life. Major equipment failures have become more frequent, resulting in costly repairs. Other components have aged to the point where more problems are now anticipated. Each of these failures jeopardizes the plant’s ability to meet the standards the State of Illinois has established for discharge into the Vermillion River.
Two other issues face the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). With the last permit from the State, treatment of phosphorus is now a requirement. Further, with our present combined sewer system, rain water run-off flows into sanitary sewers due to a lack of a separate storm sewer system. During rainy periods, the current Waste Water Treatment Plant is overwhelmed. The State is requiring the City to take more aggressive action towards a separation of the two sewer systems.
In an effort to address these issues, the City of Pontiac recently completed a detailed study which recommended a plan to make the necessary improvements to the WWTP. Over the next six years, the City will need to spend $33,000,000 in plant and storm sewer collection improvements. Financing will come from the Illinois E.P.A.’s revolving loan fund.
In order to finance the loan, a series of rate increases to the City’s sewer bills will need to be implemented.
Sewer bills are based on water usage. The present rate is $2.59 per 100 cu. ft. (748 gallons) of water usage. In February, the City Council will consider a rate increase that would raise the rate to $3.89 per 100 cu. ft. of water usage. A typical residential customer uses about 6 units (100 cu. ft.) per month with a current sewer bill of $15.54, that will rise to $23.34 with the new rate.
It is important that you review your sewer bill because, in addition to the sewer fees, there are also garbage and recycling pickup fees, and in some cases, Recreation Center fees as well. ONLY THE SEWER PORTION WILL BE AFFECTED.
The new rates, even with the increase, are well below those found in most Illinois communities.