City Moves to Raise Water Rates to Reduce Ammonia

An area waterway

The Clarion City Council approved the first reading of ordinance amendments that – if passed – will increase water and sewer bills 25% and 33% respectively. More information can be found in a letter from Shelley Pohlman, City Administrator, to be published in our next issue.

The increases will go to fund upgrades to the City’s wastewater treatment, which in recent years has exceeded the allowable ammonia output, “way over in wintertime,” according to Jon DeVries, Director of Public Works. Ammonia is present in human waste and used as agricultural fertilizer. As run-off, it is a primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico’s ‘dead zone.’ Ron Fiscus of Planscape Partners, the City’s legal advisor, said that such cost increases are common with increasing regulation, and that the costs of the project will be offset by ongoing funds made available by the City as it finishes payment on other projects.

The current base per month charge for water and sewer access is $9.75 each, with $5.35 and $5.51 additional costs per every 1,000 gallons of water used. The proposals would increase base charges to $12.20 for water and $13.00 for sewer, with rate increases of $6.69 and $7.33 respectively for cost per 1,000 gallons. According to Pohlman, Clarion’s average household uses 3,491 gallons of water per month, a rate which would see a $7.13 increase for water and a $9.60 increase for sewer charges.

Read more about the proposed rate increase in the July 10 issue of the Monitor – along with funds being made available to rehab housing, a new bench coming to the cemetery, and the Recreation Director’s position being reduced to half-time!