Sewer rates in Paducah and McCracken County are going up. The average household bill will go up $3.60 a month in March and $7 by July of 2017.
Paducah and McCracken County leaders voted to increase the rate at their joint meeting Monday night.
Paducah-McCracken Joint Sewer Agency Executive Director John Hodges says it boils down to EPA requirements.
Some of Paducah’s sanitary sewers dates back to 1897 others are from the 1920s or 1960s. Hodges says they're functional but not up to requirements.
JSA has about 10 years to make millions of dollars in updates to equipment. They’re trying to extend that deadline. Hodges says they try to do projects that benefit the area while meeting EPA standards.
“The improvements we are slated to make are mandated by the government. This is not an elective process we are going through here as a sewer agency,” Hodges said.
He says up-to-date waste water management systems are most important during rainy weather. Hodges says you want to be able to handle the capacity of water you treat.
During Monday's vote at the McCracken County Courthouse, Hodges talked about how any rates increase is significant to them.
He says they've been working to mitigate this increase by cutting back by 17 percent on employees in the past 10 years and saving where they can.
“We've watched every penny that we could, all of the federal grants and the state grants that we could help with us during the process,” Hodges said.
Our sewage rates are currently 67 percent of the state average. With the increase, by 2017 it will be 87 percent of the state average.
Hodges says maintenance at the treatment plants costs $40,000. This year they have to spend about $50,000 on roofing projects in addition to regular projects. It also costs a million dollars a year in maintenance outside the plant for the pumping station and lines. Of that cost, $800,000 is spent on renewing older sewer lines.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003