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WPCA Billing Change Proposed

The change means more "realistic" bills.

If you have a pool, your water bill might not reflect it. But change could come.

"The Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority is in the process of changing sewer usage billing from charges based on averaging to charges for actual consumption," according to a posting on the town website.

"Currently charges are based on actual consumption for the two winter quarters and then an average of those winter quarters are used for the two summer quarters. Under those guidelines no summer consumption was used for billings. With the elimination of the averaging method, all four quarters will be based on actual consumption," it states.

Residents who receive sewer usage bills will be billed for actual consumption and residents with irrigation systems or swimming pools will be charged for water used for their irrigation systems and pools, according to the WPCA.

An Oct. 13, 2011 hearing at was sparsely attended and opinions were mixed on the proposal. Many said another hearing was needed at that time.

A second public informational meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at . A representative from Aquarion Water Company will be present to answer and addresses any questions about having a separate meter installed for irrigation systems. 

Another hearing will be scheduled for Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers and will place prior to the start of the WPCA’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Contact the Chairman of the Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority at the offices of the WPCA at 203-452-5048 for further information.

billholden February 14, 2012 at 04:55 AM
An underlying problem in this whole question is a sewer system being forced upon people who do not need and did not want sewers. Anyone not connected to the sewage system has no problem regarding irrigation systems or swimming pools. But if sewers pipes are in front of their house they must pay, through the assessment, for that pipe. And, if exempt from connecting, they still pay over $100 per year for sewer maintainance charge. The whole sewer system stinks.
Tom Kelly February 14, 2012 at 05:08 AM
I would like to thank Councilwoman Waizenegger for attending this evening's meeting and asking questions. There was about 65 people in attendance, a pretty big turnout for this type of meeting. WPCA Chairwoman Jeanine Lynch began her remarks by admitting that the proposed system will be "unfair" to sewer users because they are being charged based on water consumption, rather than based on how much is put into the sewer. Yes, she said it was unfair, but this is the way we are charged by Bridgeport. What the WPCA hopes is that high water users will have their irrigation system's consumption read by a submeter. The Aquarion Water Company will charge the homeowner $140 per year to have an additional meter. The homeowner will also be responsible to pay the plumber to configure the pipes to install the submeter. The water company representative was unable to provide an estimate as to how much the plumbing charge would be. The WPCA estimates that there are between 900-1000 high water consumers per year. The current means of billing using average consumption leaves a balance of about $500K per year that has to be paid for by all sewer users. Many people got up to ask questions. I found the answers to be often times vague and non-committal. For example, I asked it the WPCA knows that the billing change will go into effect this summer, when will they commit to lower the rate for all customers? The WPCA was not able to answer this question. More to come...
Tom Kelly February 14, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Several people asked why the WPCA would implement such a change now when the contract with Bridgeport is expiring in less than 5 months. The general thinking was that if the current contract language is unfair to Trumbull residents, fix it in the new contract. But the WPCA could not estimate how long it would take to finish negotiating and Ms. Lynch pointed out that the last contract took 7 years to negotiate. One thing that really bothered many in the audience was the response to the question as to what happens if a homeowner goes through the trouble and expense of installing the submeters, and Bridgeport does not agree to subtract that usage from our bills? The WPCA could not guarantee that Bridgeport would agree to subtract the usage on the submeters. That was discouraging to many. I asked the question as to why Bridgeport would agree to process the exact same amount of sewage as they do now for $500,000 less once the submeter usage was subtracted? It would seem they can't take a $500,000 reduction in what we currently pay, and will raise our rates to compensate. That would seemingly defeat the whole purpose of this change. I reminded the WPCA of all the residents in North Nichols who will incur significant costs in the next few months: They will receive their sewer assessments, pay thousands to connect to the sewer pipe, begin paying sewer use fees, and now they are hit with this, all at the same time and in this difficult economy. More to come....
Tom Kelly February 14, 2012 at 05:26 AM
All five members of the WPCA were nominated by Mr. Herbst, so the WPCA has completely turned over since the Herbst administration took office. Trumbull pays one of the highest sewer use rates in the state of Connecticut. The WPCA could not estimate how many residents will get a higher bill. There is a public hearing on this proposed change next Wednesday February 22 before the WPCA meeting at 7 pm in the Town Council Chambers. There are 900-1000 high volume summer water users. Those residents could see their bills go up by $400-500 on average if they do not install the submeters. I left the meeting discouraged. These commissioners are appointed, and not elected but have the power to levy sewer assessments, determine rates, negotiate contracts, etc. Discussion ensued about the formation of a Trumbull Sewer Users Association to represent the interests of homeowners on all issues regarding our sewers. Additionally, the possibility of forming a Political Action Committee (PAC) to advocate for sewer users was raised.
Pete Piotroski February 14, 2012 at 06:32 PM
As one of the irrigation types and as long as I have a choice, I refuse to pay for a service I'm not using, the "water tax". My lawn will go brown this summer. That should save me $500 for the water and $500 for NOT running it through the sewer system. I will try rain barrels to collect water for my garden. How frustrating!! I like a nice green lawn! So, did the WPCA make any promises to at least get some answers before the next meeting? I can't believe WPCA doesn't talk to Bridgeport. Did/does our First Selectman have any comments/input?

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