Water, sewer rates going up on Oahu

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Jun 10 2013 10:36:00 PM HST

Get ready to flush more of your money down the toilet. That's because sewer rates will be going up again on July 1st in Hawaii.

HONOLULU -

Sewer rates on Oahu are going up again on July 1.

"There will be a four percent increase on the sewer volume charge as well as the base sewer charge. This will be the third year of increases," said Markus Owens with the Department of Environmental Services.

For a typical family using 13,000 gallons of water each month, that adds up to an additional $2.63 for base sewer charges and $1.56 more in volume charges, which totals more than four dollars a month.

If you'd like to wash your hands of rising rates, don't wash them too long. Water bills are going up as well.
Another $4.50 each month for that typical family.

The additional money will go to repair and replace aging pipes -- an effort to reduce the number of water main breaks and sewage spills.
Already, we've seen a drop in those numbers. On average, there is less than one break a day. That is down from more than 500 a year at one point.
But the additional monthly increases could break the budget for some Oahu residents.

"On a fixed income that adds up to groceries. We're talking about necessary groceries. A lot of us senior citizens are pinching pennies just to survive day to day," said Peter Canape.

Similar increases happened last summerand there will be more. Rate hikes will happen again next year and every summer until 2016.
They may not even end there once the major rate hike plans are done.

"We may have them for a number of years, but in 2019 that will end a major portion of the collection system," said Owens.

Owens and Burgo added there will always be other expenses, like upgrading sewage treatment plants, wells and pumping stations. Someone must also keep an eye on those aging pipes; some of which are over a hundred years old.

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