City requests sewer rate increase - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

City requests sewer rate increase

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 For more than a decade, the city of Toledo has been working to keep raw sewage out of our streams, rivers and lake.

It's through a program called the Toledo Waterways Initiative (TWI) and in order to be finished on time and in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Toledo sewer rates could be going up.

"This rate increase will be the fourth increase to support the program," Julie Cousino, TWI Program Administrator said.

The city is requesting a 7.1% increase on sewer rates each year for five years.

By 2020, that percentage goes up to 7.9.

But Cousino says when it's all said and done, "we will have reduced our sewage overflows by 80%.  We're eliminating approximately 650 million gallons of untreated sewage from our waterways with this program."

Toledo voters approved this deal back in 2002, but today, it has a huge impact because raw sewage runoff is one of the causes of algal blooms.

By eliminating those extra toxins, some city leaders say it puts us one step closer to avoiding another water crisis.

"Eventually, they make their way into our waterways and this Toledo Waterways Initiative is basically stopping that process," Councilwoman Lindsay Webb told 13abc.

The rate increase, however, wasn't on the public's mind at Monday's meeting.

"I also wanted to express my concerns over the catastrophe that we had last weekend," Yvonne Harper, who lives in Toledo said.

Harper says she happy to know steps are being take to clean up our waterways, but she wants more answers.

"This just didn't happen overnight," she said.  "Now, it's in your hands."

Council will have the final say on the rate increase.

In the end, Toledo taxpayers will have invested more than $500 million into this project.

 

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