Wilmington Water & Sewer Rates On The Rise For First Time In 6-8 Years

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Water and Sewer bills will reflect rate increases in the next quarterly bill. The average residential customer will see an approximate $5 increase per quarter for water and $3 increase per quarter for sewer.

The rate increases were voted at a public hearing of the Water & Sewer Commission on February 18th. They voted to increase water rates by 8% and sewer rates by 3%. With the increases, the Town rates remain in the low-to-mid range for average customer bills compared to neighboring communities.

This is the first rate increase in 8 years for Water. In those years, the cost of producing safe drinking water has increased from the cost of materials and chemicals, to the cost of water purchased from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA). Capital investments have also seen a cost increase in 8 years. The Town’s Five Year Capital Improvement Plan calls for over $4.5 million in non-routine investments in the water infrastructure between FY17 and FY21. The improvements include replacement of the Nassau Avenue Water Storage Tank, which was built in the 1920s. This project is expected to cost $3.4M for design and construction. Additionally the Town is scheduled to replace the Barrows Wellfield which was last replaced in 1991 and is one of the four active sources of water supply for the town. This project is estimated to cost $1.1M. For the past five years, the town has utilized surplus revenue from prior years to supplement the annual budget and infrastructure investments. The rate increase will allow the town to absorb these future large non-routine project costs and stay on course with other necessary improvements into the future.

The last rate increase for Sewer was six years ago. The modest increase will support the MWRA assessment costs, the cost of treatment of sewer, and upcoming investments in the infrastructure. The town is planning a large inflow and infiltration reduction effort which will remove extraneous flows from the system and reduce the town’s costs for transporting and treating these flows. The project is expected to be approximately $218,000 and to be funded by grants and zero-interest loans from the MWRA.

Rate payers have enjoyed relatively stable rates over the years as a results of conservative spending. The Department of Public Works uses in-house staff as much as possible for the planning and construction of projects, rather than utilizing more expensive contractors. Customers’ bills will reflect the new rates going forward. The rate adjustments are effective for residential, commercial, industrial, and fire protection customers.

For more information contact the Department of Public Works at 978-658-4481.

(NOTE: The above press release is from Wilmington Town Hall.)

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