Wednesday, February 01, 2006

TOP STORY >> Water costs ready to go up in Beebe

Leader staff writer

Water and sewer bills are going up in Beebe to pay for $1.3 million in improvements to the water system.
Currently, the average residential customer uses 6,000 gallons a month and receives a monthly bill of $50.70, which includes water, sewer, garbage collection, all taxes and other fees.

Beginning with the April bill, that $50.70 bill will increase to $53.08. In April 2007, the same bill will rise to $55.29.

Dwight Oxner, water and sewer manager, said that all the work will be on problem areas of the existing water system in the old and not-so-old parts of town, not to extend to the service area.

Oxner said the work to be done includes replacing two-inch lines that can’t support fire protection and connecting dead-end lines to existing lines, called looping.

Where larger, six, eight and 12-inch lines are installed, customers will probably see better pressure and flow, he said.

Where dead-end lines are looped, they could see an im-proved flavor because the flow will be constant. The city council unanimously approved a $1.3 million bond issue Thursday night to pay for the improvements as well as the rate increase to pay off the bonds.

Oxner said his department now uses a water and sewer master plan prepared by B&F Engineer-ing of Hot Springs, to ensure that new lines will support the area where they are installed.

But the plan also shows the many areas throughout the city that need upgrading.

Some sewer lines have already been upgraded, he said, but this will be the first major improvement to the old water lines since the plan was drafted.