Middletown sewer rates will rise in 2019 to help cover $269M settlement

Middletown residents may be seeing a 10 percent sewer rate increase in 2019.

This is the latest rate hike by the city as part of covering the costs of the $269 million Long Term Control Plan consent decree which was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year.

City Council will make a final decision on the proposed rate increase at its Jan. 8 meeting.

This rate increase will cost a typical residential user an additional $3.38 per month based on 600 cubic feet of usage, according to Scott Tadych, city public works and utilities director.

In his report, Tadych said sewer rates are reviewed with council as needed taking into consideration the operational, maintenance, and capital improvement needs of the sewer system. He said the sewer rates were last discussed in 2017 with a rate increase of 15 percent in 2018.

The minimum monthly rate including the first 300 cubic feet is now $17.26. Starting March 1, 2019 that will go up to $18.99 a month.

Over the past several years, the city has incrementally raised rates the past several years to build up the sewer fund for projects to implement the Long Term Control Plan. If council does not or delays a sewer rate increase, it could cause higher annual increases in the future.

The city agreed to a consent decree with the USEPA to address combined sewer overflows. Therefore, sewer rates are being adjusted as needed to implement a Long Term Control Plan. The plan will include combined sewer overflow control projects along with major rehabilitation of the sewer system and wastewater treatment plant. The total cost is expected to be $265 million over the next 25 years.

Middletown’s sewer rates are currently 53rd out of 63 communities surveyed for sewer rates based on the 2018 Oakwood Water and Sewer Rate Survey for southwest Ohio.

Water rates in Middletown are currently 22nd out of 66 communities surveyed for lowest water rates. Water rates will remain the same for 2019. Combining both rates Middletown is 36th out of 63 communities surveyed.

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