High-Water Mark

City residents pay more than their neighbors



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High Water Mark - Comparing Apples to Organges

No one wants to pay high water bills. But comparing Richmond's water rates to neighboring Henrico and Chesterfield counties is comparing apples to oranges. They are not equal. Some of the components that go into Richmond water bills are not factors for the surrounding counties. These include operation and maintenance of the city’s floodwall, maintenance and replacement of fire hydrants, an annual utility tax payment to Richmond’s general fund; operation of a combined sewer system; maintenance of canals; operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants built in the early to mid 1900’s, and yes, underground water and wastewater infrastructure – dating back to the late 1800’s which require higher maintenance and replacement costs. An overly simplistic way to look at it might be to compare the owner of a new home to the owner of a home built back in the 1900’s. The new home owner is going to have little to no maintenance costs compared to the owner of the historic home.
When comparing apples to apples - other city’s of similar size and age, that also operate a combined sewer system – Boston, New York, and Atlanta, Richmond water rates are neither the highest or the lowest. The city, however, does recognize the need to reform our water rate structure and we are doing something about it. (Angela Fountain is the Public Information Manager for the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities)

Angela Fountain more than 3 years ago

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