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Thomas: Sewage more costly than water

Things have changed since 1977 when Brundidge residents paid a basic rate of $2.50 for their water and a $1.25 base rate for sewage.

Today, residents pay a fixed rate per thousand gallons and, as a result, residents, in most cases, are paying more for sewage than for water. And, many people are asking how they disbursed more water than they use.

Britt Thomas, city manager, said that the simple explanation is providing sewage costs the city more than supplying water.

“It just costs more to install and maintain sewage service than water service,” Thomas said. “The city has three water wells, one on College Street that was installed in 1948; one on Elm Street that was installed in 1969; and the well at Wal-Mart that was installed in 2002. The wholesale electric charges to the city for those three wells in fiscal year 2010 was $28,000.

“In comparison, for fiscal year 2010, the power to operate the city’s 11 sewage pumping stations and to treat the sewage at the wastewater plant was $175,000. That’s a big difference in cost.”

In the area of maintenance, if one of the 11 sewage pumping stations goes down, the cost of rewinding it is between $3,000 and $4,000.

“And the environmental regulations require the city to upgrade our sewage system and wastewater treatment facility,” Thomas said. “From 1977 until now, the city of Brundidge has spent between $5 and $6 million in upgrades.”

As far as the monthly residential charges, Thomas said the sewage rates are based on water usage but they are not a percentage of the water used.

“Water usage is capped at 12,000 gallons,” he said. “It is assumed that if a family uses more than 12,000 gallons that water is not going into the sewer and they don’t pay for that.”

At this time, Brundidge residents pay a sewer meter connection fee of $8.85 and a water connection fee of $11.03 plus usage charges.