The Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to raise customers’ rates by about 5 percent, as part of a $62.2 million budget.
The budget includes a slightly higher administrative fee and a “small rate increase,” according to a statement released by MAWSS on Friday.
“The average water and sewer customer using approximately 5,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase about $2.25 from $55.80 to $58.05,” the statement reads. “Minimum bills — using 2,500 gallons or less — will see an increase of $1.43 a month from $29.90 to $31.33.”
The new rates will take effect on Monday, Jan. 1. A straight 5 percent increase in rates is also proposed for 2019.
“The increases are needed to fund the repair and replacement of aging infrastructure, keep drinking water safe, prevent sewer overflows , maintain our high level of service to customers and meet regulatory requirements that better protect public health and the environment,” the statement reads. “The increases were recommended by an outside cost of service study and more accurately reflect the cost of providing water and water service. Increased rates are also being passed along to wholesale water customers, Spanish Fort and Prichard.”
The utility continues to battle with aging infrastructure, which causes several problems including sanitary sewer overflows. The estimated costs for repair and replacement of this infrastructure is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, MAWSS officials have said.
“About 40 percent of MAWSS’ sewers are over 50 years old and have reach or exceeded their useful life,” according to the statement. “Rain infiltrates the aging pipes through cracks and defects, causing overflows.”