It’s official: Water and sewer bills in Abilene are going up.
City Council members voted Thursday to buy the certificates of obligation to upgrade the Hamby Water Treatment plant to put treated, effluent water back into Lake Fort Phantom.
To do so, the rates will be increasing.
For a household that uses 5,000 gallons a month, the bill currently comes to $37.75.
For the first phase of the project, the next year and a half, that average bill will go up to $43.50, an increase of $5.75.
Then, during the second phase of the water project, starting in October 2014, that bill would go up to $46.
At the end of the two phases, the overall increase will be $8.25 a month, or $99 a year.
Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald said there was no other alternative to meet the city's growing water needs in dry West Texas.
As for the timeline of the project, the city says there will be three phases of work. The first is the biggest and will focus mostly on the Hamby Water Treatment Plant.
The second phase of the project will be improvements at the Hargesheimer Plant, as well as adding larger water distribution mains. The third will be improvements at the dam at Lake Kirby.
The city wants the ability to release stored water from there into Cedar Creek that will then go to Lake Fort Phantom.
The city hopes to have everything in place and working at the Hamby Treatment Plant by December 2014
The city plans to start delivering the treated water to Lake Fort Phantom by January 2015.