Burlington Water Rates and Billing to Change

Because of vacancies in Burlington’s office buildings, the Department of Public Works is planning to increase water rates by 9.8 percent and sewer rates by 6.8 percent each year for the next three years, says DPW Director Brian White. 

“Revenues have not been where they should be,” White told the Select Board Monday night. “Commercial water and sewer revenue makes up a majority of revenue, so I want to emphasize that the 9.8 percent increase is not because of additional costs; it’s largely due to a lack of revenue.” 

In a presentation late last year, Economic Development Director Melisa Tintocalis said 16 to 18 percent of Burlington’s office space is vacant, more than at any time in the last decade. 

Since 2019, Burlington has been in the process of connecting our water and sewer services to the MWRA, with the hope of buying some share of our water from the state agency in addition to treating and distributing our own water from the Mill Pond treatment plant. But in 2020, Massachusetts changed its standards for PFAS chemicals in drinking water, meaning Burlington had to install pricey filtration systems at Mill Pond. Those systems were completed in September. 

Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said the PFAS project threw some complications into the math of the water system’s costs and revenues. “We don’t have a good sense of what the ultimate cost will be to treat PFAS,” he said. “We do know how much the resin costs the first time, we don’t know how long it will last or how much mileage we’re going to get out of it. In the meantime, because of PFAS, we’re using a lot of MWRA water earlier in the process than we anticipated when we proposed the plan.” 

The DPW also alerted residents to changed in water and sewer billing cycles. From the spring through September, residents will be transitioned to quarterly instead of biannual billing. 

“The Water Resources Commission believes quarterly billing will bring residents attention to how much water they’re using,” Sagarino said.

Article from BCAT TV

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