East Edition

Whittier increases water, sewer, trash fees

WHITTIER — Residents who use the city’s water and sewer system and its trash disposal service face rate increases for the next two years in all three categories as of Sept. 1, but it should be the last of the hikes aimed at building a fund to maintain the water and sewer infrastructure, according to Public Works Director David Pelser.

After the next two years, any rate changes will be based on routine cost of living and other operational issues, Pelser said.

He explained that the City Council, which approved the latest increases after the required public hearings June 9, agreed to a four-year series of hikes, in two-year increments, in 2013.

The aim is to generate enough revenue to fund sewer and water infrastructure repairs for 30 and 40 years respectively, and avoid the problems of Los Angeles where 90- to 100-year-old lines are constantly breaking.

The estimated cost to maintain the sewer lines for 30 years is $125 million, and to upgrade or replace water lines for the next 40 years is $269 million, Pelser said.

Reductions for qualified property owners and residents such as senior citizens and the disabled, approved in June 2012, remain in effect, with discounts of $6 a month for water and $5 a month for trash collection.