Water, sewer rates will rise in city as of October 1

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, September 11, 2021

City of Brookhaven water and sewer customers will see an increase in their bills beginning Oct. 1.

Following the recommendations of the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi Rural Water Association, the city’s Board of Aldermen approved an increase of $0.25 in the minimum water rates and $0.25 in the minimum sewer rates for Fiscal Year 2022. The new rates will take effect Oct. 1 and be seen when residents receive their October bills.

The minimum combined water-sewer-garbage bill for city residents is currently $59. The new minimum will be $59.50, and covers usage up to 3,000 gallons of water. Beyond that, rates are charged per 1,000 gallons of water used.

For example, if a household uses less than 3,000 gallons of water in a one-month period, their bill will be $59.50 for that month. For every 1,000 gallons used over 3,000, the water bill will increase by $2.10 and the sewer by $2.45, according to the Brookhaven Water Department. These amounts are unchanged.

“We have a lot of people who just use the minimum, a lot in the 5,000-8,000 gallon range, and we have a lot of people who use 15,000 gallons a month,” the BWD rep said. “If I had to say an average, it would probably be 8,000 to 10,000 gallons for residential use.”

Based on those rates, the average bill would be $82.25 for a residence using 9,000 gallons of water per month.

Director of Public Works Keith Lewis said the state health department makes regular inspections of wells and water-sewer processing operations. Because upgrades are continually needed on wells, pumps, etc., MSDH recommends raising fees to offset those costs.

“We cannot use taxpayer money on water and sewer,” Lewis said. “It is actually against the law for a city to use tax money on water and sewer, so water/sewer has to stand on its own.”

While the city typically is working on water or sewer projects year-round, Lewis said several large projects are on the slate at the moment. A large sewer project is about to begin after several months of planning and negotiating, from West Meadowbrook Drive to Brookway Boulevard, stretching almost one mile. An upgraded water line on Derrick Street is next, and a sewer project on Browns Loop NE is in the engineering stage.