City Sewer Rate Increase
Over the last several years, the city has been working with the Federal and State Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) towards regulatory compliance for sewer infrastructure improvements in Bay Village and at the Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant. These mandates are required to meet current environmental standards. In late 2018, the city sought out and contracted with an engineering firm that focuses on municipal infrastructure. The firm began work in 2019 to evaluate the current system and create a model to comply with environmental regulations and guide future improvements.
Sewer Rates- Effective July 1, 2023
On March 13, 2023, Bay Village City Council passed Ordinance 22-142 (PDF), increasing sewer rates by an additional $40 per quarter for sanitary sewer operations, and establishing a $9 per quarter fee for storm water maintenance. Effective July 1, the quarterly residential bill will be comprised of $130 for sanitary sewers, $9 for storm water and $12 for refuse pick up, totaling $151. Commercial accounts will increase from $30.03/mcf to $43.24/mcf. Accounts enrolled in autopay will automatically be billed for the new amount. Form to sign up for automated payments (PDF)
Sewer rates were last adjusted in Bay Village in 2014. Projects required by the State of Ohio and Federal Environmental Protection Agencies, along with increasing costs to operate the Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant (RRWWTP) have necessitated additional funding. The new rate is below the average of most Westshore cities and is well below the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District rate and state averages. The recently adopted ordinance also includes a 6% annual increase, starting in 2024 to keep pace with operating costs at the RRWWTP and to address the projects listed below for both agencies.
1) United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) compliance project.
Bay Village has been under an Administrative Order of Consent from the USEPA since 2009 to eliminate Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) in the city. The Orders included a requirement that the city provide a plan (PDF) specifying actions and procedures to eliminate the SSOs. In June 2021, the city submitted its plan to the USEPA, which approved the plan in September 2022. The plan includes the installation of a 1.5-million-gallon equalization tank at an estimated cost of $10.5 million, and additional $3.5 million in necessary sanitary sewer improvements to eliminate the two remaining SSOs. When completed, the city will be in compliance with the Clean Water Act, contributing directly to a cleaner, healthier Lake Erie. Compliance with these orders is also important to avoid court orders and fines. Additional information on the SSO elimination projects.
The RRWWTP serves Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River, and Westlake. The four cities operate the plant through a management committee and are responsible for funding its operations and capital projects. The OEPA has mandated that the RRWWTP reduce sanitary sewer overflows/bypasses into Lake Erie. In response, a No Feasible Alternatives (NFA) plan was developed by the RRWWTP and accepted by the OEPA. This plan requires capital projects at the plant and in each of the four cities over the next 15 years. Engineers have been engaged through the RRWWTP and are collaborating with city engineers to identify and prioritize projects that will have the greatest impact on improving the sanitary system in order to meet the NFA. Implementing this plan is important, as alternatives to complying with the NFA would result in a much costlier expansion of the RRWWTP.
While the new rates will provide additional funding for these projects, the city has also been successful in pursuing external funding assistance. The Ohio Public Works Commission, District One approved the city’s application for a $2.9 million zero-interest construction loan, and the OEPA approved a second zero-interest loan of $800,000 for the engineering of the equalization tank and related projects required for full compliance with the Administrative Orders and the Clean Water Act. The city continues to pursue funding opportunities through Federal Government Congressional Directed Spending requests and the State of Ohio.
Long-term infrastructure planning
While compliance with environmental regulations and construction of the above infrastructure is important, the city is also reviewing the useful life of infrastructure assets as our community ages. Bay Village has 67 miles of sanitary sewers, 3 miles of sanitary force mains, 5 pump stations, 68 miles of storm sewers, 71 miles of water lines and 63 miles of roadway. Understanding the useful life and condition of each asset is important in establishing cost estimates for maintenance, rehabilitation, or replacement when it ultimately becomes necessary. This information is invaluable in developing a long-term capital plan and related funding streams.