Water Utility Bills to Rise in Charlottesville, Albemarle - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Water Utility Bills to Rise in Charlottesville, Albemarle

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People in Albemarle County and Charlottesville are getting hikes in their water bills.

The board of the Albemarle County Service Authority approved the rate raise Thursday morning. Despite the increase, it seems most people are happy with where that money is going.

Water is going up about 30 cents per 1,000 gallons in both the city and county. The increase is going to pay for a new, customer-demanded, water filtration system at the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority.

"The new water filtration process is going to mean that we have a much higher quality of water - probably some of the best water in the country - once all this gets finished,” said Gary O’Connell, executive director of the Albemarle County Service Authority.

People in both Charlottesville and Albemarle County will be paying more for water from their faucets starting July 1. But Albemarle service board members say it's what people were asking for at a recent county supervisors meeting.

"When I went into that meeting that day, I was in favor of using chloramines, but after hearing from the public, I changed my vote, and in fact I think a lot of people changed their vote that day,” said Clarence Roberts, chair of the Albemarle County Service Authority Board.

The new process is estimated to cost around $21 million to put in place. That's around three times more than before, but Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority members say it's worth it.

"It uses granular activated carbon in these large tanks much like on the back of people's refrigerators with the little carbon. All the water in our system will go through that so it will be a much better water quality," said O’Connell.

The new system, like before, is set up with payment tiers, so the less you use, the less you pay. But service authority board members say they're adding a benefit to the consumer.

"Every customer will get the first 3,000 gallons at cost,” Roberts said.

And they say in the end, it's still a good deal. "For 1 penny, you can buy three gallons of water. For one dollar, you can buy 1,763 bottles - 20-ounce bottles of water,” said Roberts.

Those changes all take effect starting July 1. RWSA members say they're in planning stages for the project now, and hope to begin installation before the end of the year.

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