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City of Owosso water rates to increase later this year

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City of Owosso water rates to increase later this year

City of Owosso water rates to increase later this year

OWOSSO, Mich. (WJRT) - Residents in the city of Owosso will be paying substantially more for water come the end of this year.

City officials say it's something the city doesn't want to do, but knows it is necessary.

Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne said that it's all part of a five year plan to improve the city's water infrastructure.

Municipalities are required to replace all lead and galvanized steal pipes by the year 2041 under the state's lead and copper rule.

"The first time they will see the increase will be September when they get the bill for that quarter," said Henne.

Henne said that City council voted this week to approve a 17.9% rate hike this year for water and sewer, starting with the July billing cycle.

Next year, that rate will be an additional 10%.

"After that, it levels off from years 3-5 at 3% which basically is our best guess at rate of inflation," he said. 

Henne says the city still has around 4,500 water lines to replace.

When asked about what happens if the city doesn't take action to address the city's water infrastructure, Henne said its unclear. 

"That's unclear because no city in the state has really put their foot down and said we're just not doing this. But we can speculate that the state may just take over the system," he said. 

Possibly suggesting the state could come in and set their own rates to comply with the mandate.

Henne said that the city has also been working on improvements to its sewage treatment plant over the last four years.

After these next five years, the city will have invested $26 million into the sewer plant alone.