Some sewer rates are set to skyrocket |

Some sewer rates are set to skyrocket

Rates could go up hundreds of dollars a year for some Nevada County sewer customers, thanks to the mounting cost of bringing local water quality up to federal standards.

The chairman of the state Water Resources Control Board, Arthur Baggett, was at the Nevada County supervisors’ meeting Tuesday to offer some ideas – and hope – on dealing with the problem.

During a joint meeting with the Nevada County Sanitation District No. 1 board, county officials quizzed Baggett on ways the county could reduce costs of sewer plant upgrades to meet new water quality standards.

The Lake of the Pines plant faces costs of as much as $7 million to meet the standards for a new permit.

Funding those improvements would raise the cost of sewer service for a Lake of the Pines resident from $315 per year to an estimated $616 annually by 2003-04. (The figure is for a typical household’s sewage use, called an equivalent dwelling unit.)

The increased fees would pay for higher operating expenses, construction costs of plant improvements and interest on loans to pay for the improvements.

Lake Wildwood’s bills could rise from $315 per year to $500 by 2003-04. Cascade Shores, with fewer homeowners to pay for plant improvements, could see the typical bill rise from $910 to $1,450 in 2006-07.

Baggett was invited to Tuesday’s meeting by Supervisor Elizabeth Martin. He discussed ideas for reducing the costs.

Some ideas, like lengthening the time to come into compliance, are likely to result in federal lawsuits, said Baggett.

But Martin said progress has been made in some areas, including the availability of grant money, a re-evaluation of whether to test for chemicals that don’t show up in the area and a proposed rural counties special task force to look at how to deal with expensive water regulations.

“What it means is we have a real hope of reducing costs for people on sanitation systems, and improve water quality,” said Martin.

sewer costs on the rise

Lake of the Pines (per equivalent dwelling unit)

current: $315 per year

2003-04: $616 per year (Additional costs are expected)

Lake Wildwood

current: $315 per year

2003-04: $500 per year (Additional costs are expected)

Cascade Shores

current: $910 per year

2006-07: $1,450 per year

– Source: Nevada County

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