City of Houston

Houston City Council Approves $2 Billion Plan To Fix Sewer System

The city will pass along the cost of the 15-year project to consumers, with rate hikes beginning next spring.

Houstonians can expect to see their water bills go up in the spring of 2020. The rate increase will come as the city looks for ways to pay to overhaul its sewer system, the largest in the country.

City Council approved a consent decree with the EPA that requires Houston to spend roughly $2 billion over 15 years to fix its leaking sewer system. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that’s a bargain compared to the $5-7 billion the federal government initially demanded in 2016.

“This is an issue that was not going to go away,” Turner said. “And the question for us is, ‘How can we address the concerns of these sanitary sewer overflows but do it in a cost-efficient manner?’”

The public works department will be conducting a rate study over the rest of 2019. The department’s proposal will then go through a public comment process, with council expected to vote on it next April. Only then will rate hikes appear in customers’ bills.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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