When it comes to water (and poop), there’s nothing like the Bridgeport-Trumbull partnership. From Vinti Singh, CT Post:
The Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority is considering a new billing policy that would charge Trumbull residents for the actual amount of water they consume in the spring and summer quarters.
The current system charges residents an average rate during the warmer months to keep costs low for people who irrigate their lawns or fill their pools, said Joseph Solemene, WPCA assistant administrator. But the overall rate for all Trumbull residents has been driven up as a result, and the policy change is the WPCA’s attempt to make the rate more fair, Solemene said.
People who water their lawns typically use three to four times more water than those who don’t, Solemene said. Trumbull contracts with the city of Bridgeport for sewer processing, and Bridgeport charges Trumbull users $4.36 for every 100 cubic feet of water delivered to their homes. The charge is on the assumption that all water delivered to a home will go through Bridgeport’s sewage treatment facility. But water used to irrigate lawns, fill pools or wash cars percolates into the ground or runs off. Therefore, residents are charged for the water even though it isn’t processed in the facility.
When the rate contract was negotiated 20 years ago with Bridgeport, there were much fewer lawn irrigation systems, Solemene said. Under the existing contract, residents pay for their actual water usage in the fall and winter quarters. In the spring and summer, they pay a rate based on the average of their fall and winter usage.
The average Trumbull home with three residents and without a lawn irrigation system uses 20 ccf of water in both the fall and winter quarters, according to the Trumbull Tax Collector. A average quarterly bill is $87.20, plus the flat rate maintenance fee of $27.
“There have been problems with the averaging, a number of problems,” Solemene said. “Say you’re not living in your home all summer because you’re getting home improvements first. You actually use 1 ccf of water, but you get charged for 20. At the same time, say you’re lucky enough to have a summer home in Florida and you spend the whole winter there. You come back to Trumbull in the summer and you’re using water like it’s going out of style, but you’re only being billed 1 ccf.”
For lawn irrigators who don’t want to be charged sewage fees for the water they use outside, the WPCA is proposing to give the option of installing a second water meter on the irrigation system. Once installed, the water company will read both meters, and only report to the WPCA the water that goes through the main water meter. They also have the second option of drilling a well specifically for irrigation, Solemene said.