Higher water rates coming to many in Northwest Ohio

TOLEDO (WTVG) - Higher water rates are coming soon to many Northwest Ohio communities.

One of the reasons is to help pay for improvements to the Collins Park Water Treatment Facility following the algal bloom crisis.

When you first heard that the Regional Water Commission was formed in Toledo, you may have thought water rates will now be the same across the board. But, that's not the case and actually never will be.

Starting January 1, everyone's water rate will go up. You'll be billed monthly instead of quarterly, and the minimum water usage rate will go away.

For the first time, you'll only be charged for the water you use.

"Well not only do you save money on your bill when you use less water, but now if people try and conserve water it will reduce their sanitary charge," said Doug Stephens of the Division of Engineering Services in Toledo.

Stephens says over a seven-year transition period, the wholesale rate Toledo charges the nine communities that are part of the commission will gradually increase to equal out.

"Basically they are paying the cost of their share of the cost to get water from the lake, treat it, and pipe it to their community," said Stephens.

But each community does tack on additional fees for services like billing and pipe maintenance.

Take Rossford for example. Toledo will charge $43. Plus, nearly $37 on top of that is added on by the district for local services specific to Rossford. Leaving the total monthly water bill to be around $80.

In contrast, for Maumee, Toledo will charge just under $24. Locally, there is about an $18 service fee. So, Maumee residents will pay around $42 a month.

But over the course of the next seven years, Stephens says all communities will be charged roughly $43 monthly from Toledo.

The reason is to avoid "rate shock." Which means if you assume the local charge doesn't increase, come 2017, Maumee residents will be paying $62 a month. That's $20 more.

To put this all into perspective, these numbers are based on 1,000 cubic feet of water per month. Stephens says the average Toledoan uses about half of that.

Graphs that explain how your specific water rate will change are linked in the sidebar of this article. Toledo leaders say they plan to put them on the city of Toledo website this week, too.

In the meantime, you're encouraged to call your community utility department for rate information.