Sewer Fees Will Jump for Users of Crescenta Water District

Times Staff Writer

Monthly sewer service fees will more than double in September for about 23,000 customers of the Crescenta Valley County Water District, officials announced this week.

The rate increase, which will boost monthly residential fees from $8.40 to $20, is needed to pay the community's share of the cost of improvements to the Hyperion sewage treatment plant in Los Angeles, said Robert K. Argenio, district general manager.

The city of Los Angeles is under federal and state mandates to complete by 1998 an estimated $3.4 billion in improvements and additions to the Hyperion plant, part of a waste water treatment and disposal system that also serves seven other cities and several county water and sanitation districts.

The Crescenta Valley district, like other users, has no voice in the improvement project, but must pay a share of the costs, Argenio said.

The district's initial share was estimated at $1.5 million, but that estimate was revised by Los Angeles officials in May to more than $8 million, he said.

More Increases Expected

Additional increases can be expected in the future.

"I would like to be able to say this increase will take care of all foreseeable costs, but I cannot do that," Argenio said. "We believe that if actual costs are as high as projected, even this increase might not be adequate to meet our long-term obligations."

Similar sewer service fee increases are planned by other districts.

Los Angeles, for instance, expects the present monthly sewer fee of $8.24 paid by the average residential user to climb to $23.07 during the next five years, said Fred Hoeptner, a financial manager for the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.

Argenio said the five-member water board deliberated for more than two months before "very reluctantly" authorizing the fee increase. "There was really no alternative," he said.

Rates for multifamily dwellings and commercial users will climb by 138% in September.

Argenio said newsletters will be mailed within the next few weeks to all of the district's 30,000 customers alerting them to the fee increase.

The higher fee will affect about two-thirds of the district's customers who are connected to the sewer system.

Unlike Los Angeles, which charges sewer fees based on the amount of water used, residential customers in the Crescenta Valley pay a flat monthly rate.

The district serves the unincorporated area of La Crescenta and a small portion of La Canada Flintridge.

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