Morenci’s sewer use charge will take a dip for the next year due to estimated costs of maintaining the treatment system.
A fee of $2.47 will be charged for every 1,000 gallons of water used, a drop from last year’s charge of $2.65.
When Morenci accepted a low-interest loan for the combined sewer overflow (CSO) project in 1992, council had to agree to charge an annual fee for maintenance and replacement of the system.
An estimate of operational costs from last year would be covered by charging $2 for every thousand gallons of water used. The remaining 47 cents will go into the maintenance fund.
Council member Dick Hewitt noted that Morenci’s sewage treatment lagoons have never been cleaned since they were installed in the 1960s.
Because of the presence of heavy metals in the sludge from the former Parker Rust Proof company, cleaning costs are expected to be high because the sludge will require special disposal.
City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder pointed out some good news in relation to the CSO project. The end of the annual assessments is drawing nearer every year. In 2011, the loan for the project will be paid.