A Message from the Director
Welcome to another update on our water and sewer utility construction programs and progress, designed to bring you -- our customers -- more dependable, higher quality water and sewer service. Many things change in this business, but our need to provide quality service to you remains paramount. Unfortunately, to maintain the miles of water and sewer lines and keep our water and water reclamation plants in top shape requires increases in what you pay for these services. We hope this information helps you understand the need to increase rates to maintain our water and sewer utility system.
Like every other water and sewer utility in the United States, Greensboro faces financial pressures that result from the following areas:
- Infrastructure Deterioration: A water and sewer utility system consists of everything from new pumping stations and tanks to pipelines more than 100 years old. Our biggest liability is our decaying water and sewer infrastructure. If we do not raise rates to begin replacing aging water lines, sewers, and other essential assets, we will see an irreversible increase in failures such as water line blowouts and sewer cave-ins. Additional projects include the replacement of the finished water reservoir dome located at Mitchell Water Treatment Plant and electrical upgrades at Lake Townsend Water Treatment Plant.
- Regulatory Changes: Everyone wants a cleaner environment and drinking water that meets the highest standards. To achieve this, state and federal agencies pass new regulations to require municipalities to improve plant processes. The best example of this is the mandate to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from our wastewater discharges through what are called the "Jordan Rules." The cost impact to the City for wastewater reclamation plants alone will be in excess of $5 million per year. To prepare for new wastewater treatment compliance regulations, the City expanded the current lab and TZ Osborne Wastewater Facility. Also, new treatment techniques are required to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Growth: As a City grows, there is a need to find new sources of water, build larger water and sewage treatment plants, and increase system capacities for distributing drinking water and collecting used wastewater. The best example of such expenditures is Randleman Lake and Water Treatment Plant. Greensboro’s cost to date for this project exceeds $60 million.
Many projects that fall into the above categories are now underway or about to begin, and all are absolutely essential to keep your water and sewer system in acceptable shape for years to come. Unfortunately, these projects can not be accomplished without funding and that is why Greensboro will continue to feel pressure to raise water and sewer rates.
Our rates still remain one of the lowest of all mid-to-large North Carolina cities. We hope you understand the need to maintain your utility system with these fund increases and see how your dollars are being spent.