Paw Paw to hike sewer rates under new ordinance

 by Kate Shunney

Town of Paw Paw officials have given public notice that residents on their municipal sewer system will likely see a rate increase by the end of July.

On June 3, town council members adopted an ordinance that will increase sewerage rates by 52%.

The proposed rate will go into effect 45 days from the ordinance adoption unless the West Virginia Public Service Commission says otherwise.

The average monthly bill for Paw Paw sewer customers will rise by $18.81 each month, hiking that bill from a minimum of $36.18 for 3,198 gallons of sewerage up to $54.99 per month under the proposal.

Commercial and public authority customers would see their monthly sewer bills go up by 52% as well.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) will review the proposed rate hike and consider its effect on customers before approving them.

Customers who object the higher sewer billing can present a petition saying that to the PSC. That petition, to be considered as part of the rate case, must signed by no less than 25% of the customers served by the utility.

According to Paw Paw officials, the proposed rate hike will affect 225 customers on the public system.

Town officials said earlier this spring that a rate hike would be necessary as part of their plans to upgrade the town’s sewer system.

The town is trying to secure a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay for improvements to bring the sewer system into environmental compliance with the Department of Environmental Protection.

Last month, the town secured a $151,130 design loan from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council to lay out the full sewer upgrade project.

Town officials have decided to pursue the sewer improvement project in two stages due to funding issues.  The first stage will be upgrading the sewage pumping and processing facility at the sewer pond, which is expected to cost $1.462 million.

The second stage of the project will be to replace or upgrade the sewer piping in town.  It will occur several months later and will fix rainwater infiltration issues that are adding unnecessary water to the treatment system.