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It’s important to understand the structure of your monthly utility (water) bill. This will help you understand how these funds help us maintain and improve different systems that protect the public health in Benbrook. Your utility bill includes service fees for your drinking water, wastewater (sewer), storm water utility system, and refuse & recycling. The rates for these fees are calculated in different ways, and the storm water and refuse & recycling fees are included on the BWA bill on behalf of the City of Benbrook.
One of our responsibilities at BWA is to protect the health of our community through wastewater (sanitary sewer) collection. That’s why we hired outside consultants to examine our long-term financial needs so that we may continue maintaining and upgrading pipes and equipment throughout the system. To help ensure that we can make these investments, we are following their advice by increasing wastewater rates by 6.5% on May 1, but drinking water rates will not change at this time.
While the impact of the increase will vary, the average homeowner will see an increase of $2 to $3 on their monthly bill. You can calculate what the change would be like on your most recent bill. Multiply only the wastewater charges by 0.065. That’s how much your bill will increase.
BWA regularly evaluates our pipes and equipment. Each year BWA, with assistance from our consultants, conducts an evaluation of a portion of our wastewater system and then proceeds with construction of needed improvements identified during the previous evaluation. These efforts are undertaken in accordance with the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative (SSOI) Plan prepared by BWA and approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in 2018. These measures are part of a 10-year plan to fully evaluate the entire collection system and help ensure the collection system functions as intended, minimizing the potential for sanitary sewer overflows.
Sanitary sewer overflows are when raw sewage backs up in the pipes underground and escapes through the manholes in the streets. These overflows are caused by damaged pipes or when blockages occur due to items that are flushed down the toilet or put down the drain that should not be. These items include all wet wipes, fats, oils, grease, etc.
On Tuesday April 6, 2021 the BWA Board adopted Resolution 2021-01. The Resolution includes an increase in wastewater rates of 6.5% as recommended in the recently completed Water & Wastewater Rate Study. The increase in wastewater rates is necessary to provide adequate funding for the Authority's future wastewater operations and collection system upgrades.
The last time rates were updated was 2016. In addition to increasing wastewater rates, the 2021 Resolution updates or clarifies customer-class descriptions (residential, multi-family, commercial) and eliminates various fees or charges that are either no longer applicable or otherwise addressed in the Authority's Schedule of Fees adopted in 2019.
Later this year, the BWA Board may also consider adopting other changes to water and wastewater rates which were recommended in the Water & Wastewater Rate Study. Considerations may include:
● Simplifying billing tiers to balance rates and fees among customer classes (residential, multi-family, commercial)
● Simplifying billing units from a per cubic foot of water used basis to a per thousand-gallons of water used basis
● Adoption of a winter-quarter-average methodology of wastewater billing to balance customers' monthly wastewater charges
○ Winter-quarter-average is a method of calculating wastewater charges based on the average amount of water used at your residence during 3 consecutive winter months.