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State

Several area communities see water rate increase

PONTIAC (MCT) — If you live in Pontiac, Lincoln and Streator, your water just got more expensive.

A rate hike took effect last week in all three communities served by Illinois American Water, which filed for the rate increase with the Illinois Commerce Commission in October 2011, citing the need for continuing enhancement and maintenance of its water and wastewater infrastructure.

“Rate adjustments allow us to continue making critical investments in water and wastewater plants, pumps and pipelines,” said the company’s president, Karla Olson Teasley, in a statement. “These investments help us to enhance customer service and reliability, as well as fire protection for customers.”

Residents in Pontiac and Streator will see a rate increase of about 8 cents per day, or $2.33 more per month. For a typical resident using 4,500 gallons of water each month, the monthly bill would be about $40. Lincoln residents will see their bills rise about 13 cents more per day, or $3.99 more per month. For a typical resident using 4,500 gallons of water a month, total bill will be $35.75.

The rates exclude fire protection charges, municipal taxes and franchise fees that vary by community.

Illinois American Water spokeswoman Karen Cotton said 70 percent of the increase is driven by infrastructure investments.

“It’s specific to each of the communities to ensure we continue to provide quality water service,” Cotton said. “Pontiac, Lincoln and Streator all have needs that have been identified and we will work to either improve or maintain our infrastructure.”

In Pontiac, more than $4.2 million from the rate hike will be used to install and replace 4,200 feet of water mains. Several meters, fire hydrants and valves also are scheduled to be replaced. Upgrades at the water treatment plant include new storage and additional flood protection.

In Lincoln, $3.1 million will be used to replace more than 2,500 feet of water mains in addition to several meters, fire hydrants and valves. A new pumping station also is in the process of being built.

More than $4.7 million is earmarked for Streator where 3,700 feet of water mains will be replaced. Also, several environmentally friendly upgrades to the water treatment plant are scheduled for completion.

“We are committed to keeping our costs down so that we can pass those savings on to our customers, too,” Cotton said. “In March, we filed an updated rate filing which reflected a 2.1 percent decrease in the company’s operating and maintenance costs since our last rate request in April 2010.”

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