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water drainPeople don’t know much about waste management and sewer systems. A recent Angie’s list poll reported that 78% of respondents weren’t aware of what trenchless sewer technology does — even though it’s one of the most commonly utilized plumbing technologies around today. But when it affects their yearly utility bill, homeowners are much more apt to pay attention.

Rising Sewage Rates Around Chicago
In East Chicago, the city council recently approved an ordinance that will effectively increase sewer rates for residents, as well as for commercial and industrial ratepayers.

The rise in rates reflects a need for more funding in order to prepare for and develop a sewer overflow long-term control plan.

“When we get major storm events, it can overwhelm our collection system and then that’s when you get these illicit discharges of sewage into the Grand Calumet River,” said Greg Crowley, utilities director of Chicago. “And so our implementation of the control plan really works to mitigate those discharges so we don’t get those in the future.”

The waste management plan is in two phases, and will cost around $12 million — resulting in an 87-cent increase on water bills across the board.

Residents in Elmhurst can expect similar changes in their water and water maintenance/sewer rates, of about $7 a month for a four-person household.

Elmhurst’s changes reflect a recent 5% increase in the rates that the DuPage Water Commission charges the city for water. The increase is planned to take effect in May of 2016, but is certainly subject to change.

“Should we get something different from the DuPage Water Commission, either up or down, we’ll get it back to committee,” said Finance Committee Chairman Kevin York.

When questioned by the committee, the rate recommendation was unanimous with all members voting for the increase. If the Elmhurst rate increase is approved by the full city council, the new rates will apply to use billed on or after January 4.