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Water rate increase hearing is Wednesday

Water rate increase hearing is Wednesday

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A hearing on Iowa American Water's request to raise residential customer rates by 14.61% will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, in the RiverCenter (Great Hall of the south building), 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport.

The hearings are for customers to express their views on the request and general service provided by Iowa American.

The company serves about 216,000 people total in Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale, Panorama Park, LeClaire, Dixon, Blue Grass and Clinton.

Under the request, the average monthly residential rate of $37.26 would go to $42.70, an increase of $5.44, or 14.61%, or about 18 cents more per day, according to the company. The average residential customer uses 4,000 gallons per month.

The average monthly commercial rate would go from $176.84 to $206, an increase of $29.16, or 16.49%, the company said in a news release.

The industrial rate would go down 1.96%, the private fire service rate would stay the same and the public authorities rate would increase 8.47%.

Iowa American filed for the increase on Aug. 28 with the Iowa Utilities Board, an independent state regulatory agency in Des Moines. The increase would cover almost $87 million in critical system upgrades from 2016-2022, the company said.

The utilities board will make a determination on Iowa American's request, including when any changes in rates will go into effect. Generally, it takes the board about 10 months to determine a case.

In a letter to customers, the company made the following case for the increase:

• Since the last increase in 2016 and by the end of 2022, it will have invested about $86.8 million in its water treatment and delivery systems in the Iowa Quad-Cities, Clinton and Blue Grass. Its largest investments include:

• Over $28 million investment in water main relocations, replacements and upgrades. Over 28 miles of water main was or will be replaced from 2016-2022.

• About $11.6 million investment to construct an ultra violet light disinfection facility at the East River Station Treatment Facility in Davenport to meet the Iowa Department of Natural Resources compliance schedule for the inactivation of cryptosporidium. (The latter is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis.)

• Over $10 million investment for normal, recurring installation and replacement of water services, meters, valves and hydrants.

• About $2.2 million investment in a disinfection improvement project at the East River Station to replace two gas chemical feed systems with liquid chemical feed systems. 

"By continually improving our water systems, we help reduce the frequency of service interruptions, prevent property damage from water main breaks and enhance fire protection," the company says.

"The need to upgrade water systems is a national issue. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2015 Drinking Water Needs Assessment reported to Congress that Iowa drinking water systems have an estimated capital need of more than $7.8 billion over the next 20 years."

People attending the hearing on Wednesday are asked to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least six feet.

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