CS Water Bills May Build...Because of Gas

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College Station's City Council has approved a bid to make $3.3 million worth of upgrades to the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. However, only $2.6 million was budgeted for it. It's a sign of the times, and the dollar signs may be bigger on your water bill.

You might be surprised how gas prices can affect your water bill, especially when it involves approved improvements to wastewater.

"They're essential," said Dave Coleman of College Station Utilities. "We don't do anything that's not essential to the operation."

Coleman oversees wastewater treatment. With the changes in the next year, odor that once spread to the neighboring Emerald Forest subdivision won't go there anymore.

"The chronic odors have been taken care of in the first three phases of odor control, and the situation, as far as the persistent odors, is much better," said Coleman.

Wastewater in the process of being treated has a little bit of an odor to it, but it's not as bad as it used to be. Workers at the Carters Creek facility have tinkered with their system a little bit trying to get the odor. But the new $3.3 million improvement will make it even better. It'll keep the odor right on the property and nowhere else.

But with the project over budget, an expected seven percent increase in water rates for Fiscal Year 2007 will likely rise even further. All because of construction costs and gas prices.

"It was expected," said Coleman of the high price on of the project. "How much, we didn't know, and so we're going to be updating the cost estimates for all of our capital improvement projects over the next few months."

The rise in prices may be crystal clear, but how much they'll end up rising is a little murkier.

According to College Station Utilities, for the current fiscal year, the typical water user in College Station currently pays about $35-a-month.