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SAWS Water and Sewer Bills Will Rise Jan. 1

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Starting with the new year next week, water and sewer bills for most San Antonio Water System customers will go up. The average increase will be almost seven percent.

Anne Hayden is the Communications Manager for San Antonio Water System. She says San Antonio is dealing with aging sewer pipe infrastructure which contributed to sewer overflows this year.

“The post WWII baby boom and construction is now 50 years old and plus,” Hayden says. “That’s about how long your sewer pipes on average last. Many cities including San Antonio are looking at directions by EPA, in our case a consent decree requiring us to televise, replace and clean pipes across the city.”

Hayden says SAWS is fulfilling the EPA requirement by using a robot which travels through miles of pipes taking pictures of cracks, damage and oil buildup.

She says about 80 percent of the revenue from the increase is needed to fix the pipes. Hayden  says it also costs money to ensure clean drinking water.

“ So there are extensive programs that most of us don’t think about, like backflow prevention where we have a group of people that make sure what’s going on in residential and industrial systems don’t back into the main water system which is what most likely what happened in Corpus Chrisi,” Hayden says. “We certainly wouldn’t want that to happen here.”

Some of the rate increase will also pay for developing new sources of water including the Vista Ridge pipeline.