Sewer Rates to Leap 150% to Offset Cost of Upgrading Facilities

Monthly sewer rates in Glendale are scheduled to leap by 150% on July 1 to offset the expected cost of extensive improvements to sewer treatment facilities in Los Angeles mandated by the federal government.

The Glendale City Council is expected to approve on Tuesday a monthly residential sewer charge of $3.75, up from $1.50 a month for single-family residences and $1.25 for apartments and condominiums. Rates for commercial and industrial users, which vary according to the type and quantity of treatment, also will increase 150%, City Manager James Rez said.

The increase in sewer rates is the first proposed in Glendale since 1976.

Rez said higher rates are needed to generate $16.9 million during the next several years to pay Glendale's share of reconstruction of the Hyperion Sewer System operated by the City of Los Angeles and used by Glendale.

The improvements, which eventually will permit cities to burn effluent sludge rather than dump it into the ocean, will begin this year under orders from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Glendale's cost for the work this year is expected to be $3.9 million.

A public information meeting on the proposed rates has been scheduled by the city Public Works Department at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the City Council chambers at 613 E. Broadway.

Other Area Charges

Rez said the proposed residential rate is still lower than is charged by nearby jurisdictions. He said the average rate in Los Angeles is $5.50 for a single-family house; in Burbank, $4.50; in the Crescenta Valley Water District, $5.90, and in Pasadena, $3.21.

All of those areas use the Hyperion system except Pasadena, which is connected to the Los Angeles County Sanitation District. The district is not affected by the federal decree, Rez said.

A 1984 California state survey found that the median monthly sewer rate statewide is $8.65, while the average charge in sewer districts serving populations over 100,000 is $6.87. Fees in large sewer districts range from $2.46 to $13.31 a month.

A report on the rate increase was presented June 7 to the City Council during a study session on the city's proposed $184-million budget for 1985-86. The report warned that, because of capital improvements expected to be charged to the city, the sewer fund could fall by next year from a current surplus of $1.5 million to a deficit of $1.6 million if rates are not increased.

Even with the projected rate increase, the city expects to incur a deficit of $6.3 million by 1989, when the project is scheduled to be completed. Rez said the city may have to consider raising the sewer rate again in several years.

Rez said Glendale's share of improvements to the Hyperion plant, near El Segundo on Santa Monica Bay, will amount to about $5.2 million. Additional improvements to the Los Angeles/Glendale Water Reclamation Plant, at the Golden State Freeway and Colorado Boulevard, will cost the city $3.4 million, he said.

Costly Segment

The most costly part of the project will be reconstruction of the north outfall sewer line, the main sewer trunk line from the San Fernando Valley to El Segundo. Glendale is connected to the 50-year-old line by a sewer in Doran Street, built about 1926.

Overall rehabilitation of the outfall line is estimated to cost $90 million, with Glendale's share to be $8.3 million. Plans also call for construction of a relief system to increase the line's capacity.


(average monthly charge) Average for California cities over 100,000 population: $6.87 Crescenta Valley Water District 5.90 Los Angeles $5.50 Burbank 4.50 Glendale (proposed) 3.75 Pasadena 3.21 Source: Glendale Public Works Dept. from State of California Survey, Feb. 24, 1984

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