Thorold residents might want to start spending a little less time showering in the morning, as their water bills are about to go up.
The reason for the tax increase is the rising water and sewer treatment costs over at the Region.
“In order to accommodate the Region’s budget increase in our estimated flow volumes, this represents a two percent increase to our water treatment costs and an 18 percent increase to our sewer treatment costs,” explained the city’s Director of Finance, Maria Mauro, during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
To offset those costs the city is looking at a blended water and sewer tax increase of 7.4% — but not every councillor is happy about it.
“It seems we’re really getting killed on the sewer rates from the Region,” said Councillor Henry D’Angela. “Is there anything we can do to mitigate some of that?”
“The infiltration is an issue that we struggle with,” Mauro answered. “Unfortunately it’s quite high so we do have that additional expense.”
Infiltration happens when water, groundwater and stormwater enters the sewage system through sump pumps, downspouts, and holes or cracks in the pipes.
Thorold's aging sewer system has exacerbated infiltration issues over time that, combined with the city’s unprecedented growth, have led to increased water flow rates.
“Growth does have an impact,” said the city’s Director of Community Services Geoff Holman. “Not just from the additional flow which is coming from the new homes, but also during construction when there’s lots of inefficiencies. That water gets into the sanitary sewer and not necessarily in the storm sewer which drives our flow quite a bit.”
Councillor D’Angela urged Mayor Terry Ugulini and Regional Councillor Tim Whalen to take the issue to the Region for consideration.
As for Thorold residents, they will see an average water and sewer bill increase of $22.48 per quarter.