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Proposed 4 Percent Water Rate Hike Goes Before Public Hearing

The Bristol County Water Authority proposes to rate water rates by another 4 percent in fiscal year 2015.

BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand at a rate workshop last year. Credit: W.Rupp
BCWA Executive Director Pamela Marchand at a rate workshop last year. Credit: W.Rupp

A public hearing takes place Wednesday, Jan. 22, on the 4 percent rate increase proposed by the Bristol County Water Authority for fiscal year 2015, which starts in July.

The public hearing will take place in the BCWA offices at 450 Child St. in Warren. It starts at 6 pm.

“The rate increase would boost the average residential water bill from $504.15 to $524.32 per year,” according to the BCWA.

That rate increase calculates out to about 39 cents a week for the average residential water user, according to the water authority.

The rate hike is necessary to “fund capital improvements necessary to insure the delivery of high quality water,” according to the BCWA, “and provide funding for mandatory reserves.”

“Water quality and efficient distribution” is the primary concern of the BCWA, according to the authority, which has turned into a water-distribution organization for Barrington, Warren and Bristol for the most part over the past couple of years with the shutdown of the water treatment plant in Warren. 

The BCWA has been improving water quality by installing a treatment system to remove “disinfection by-products,” such as trihalomethqnes (THMs), which can increase the risk of cancer, at the Bay View storage tank in Bristol. Another upgrade to the system is planned for the Barrington store tank.

The BCWA’s emphasis replacing its mains and pipes also is focused on water quality, according to the authority. Working with the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency, the BCWA will be obtaining almost $8 million in bond funding for projects to be schedule in 2014 and 2015. 

Those projects include:

  • Cleaning and lining cast iron water mains.
  • Replacing deteriorating mains.
  • Replacing hydrants and valves for fire safety.
  • Renovating pump stations and controls.
  • Treating water to eliminate corrosion and to reduce the disinfection by-products such as THMs.

The proposed budget for fiscal 2015 also provides funding for an infrastructure replacement fund, which is expected to offset bond payments down the road.

BOB I January 20, 2014 at 07:46 AM
I think the time has come to abolish the bcwa, or at the very least bring it under the control of the puc

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