Sewage rate increases expected to continue

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — City officials expect sewage rates to continue to increase despite upcoming clean energy projects.

Residents will see a 5 percent increase in their sewage rates, which translates to about 98 cents a month or $11.71 a year. The increase is due primarily to increased debt service requirements relating to improvement projects at the Wyandotte Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The increase will provide funds for the city to pay for the following: its share of operation and maintenance in the sewage disposal system; monthly Wayne County sewage charges.

The total estimated increase in the county sewage rate is 18.53 percent over the next three years; the annual increase since 1997 is 4.81 percent.
Residents can expect anywhere from a 5 percent to 6 percent increase in the rate each year over the next three years.

An American Bio Energy plant is expected to be built near the city’s treatment plant, but is not expected to lessen the rate increases. The plant would process sewage sludge in an anaerobic digester that produces biomethane to be used to generate electricity.

ABE will be working with the county and the city to take the sludge, digest it and turn it into energy. If the plant is determined to be viable it will be located at 4200 Eighth, which is city-owned property adjacent to the Downriver Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Sludge would be pumped from the treatment plant to the ABE plant and would eliminate the need to transport sludge with trucks. The county currently spends an average of $2.6 million to transport the sludge to landfills from the treatment plant in trucks.

City Engineer Mark Kowalewski doesn’t believe that average cost will change, even if the ABE plant is built.

Residents will receive notice of the increased rates at the top and bottom of their water bills next month.