The Rockdale County Water and Sewer Authority took a look at what ways of making the water and sewer system more efficient would produce the most benefit at their work session Wednesday evening.
The Authority recently voted to recommend a water and sewer base rate increase of $8.78 per month for most residential customers, the first significant rate increase in more than a decade. For customers receiving both, the increase will total $17.56 per month.
Discussion at a recent public hearing focused on making the system more efficient. At the hearing, the board members cited a figure of 34 percent inefficiency or water loss in the system.
Lee Pope, who heads the Rockdale water treatment facility, which recently won recognition as the best operated plant of its size in the state by the Georgia Association of Water Professionals, was appointed to head an internal auditing effort to prioritize what needed to be addressed.
At the work session, Pope explained that 12 to 14 percent was considered an acceptable water loss amount, due to things like flushing and unavoidable water loss. Fixing water leakage would only return about 1.5 percent of the water processed in a year, he said.
But the area with the greatest potential for capturing lost revenue was in repairing meter inaccuracies, which represented about 20 percent of the revenue lost from unbilled water.
The board also reviewed the past decisions that had put the water and sewer system into its current situation, namely using CCR funds, which were originally intended for other purposes, to prevent having to increase water rates. This worked when the economy was good and things were growing, the board explained, but then the housing bubble burst.
Board member Garvin Haynes said, “CCR’s intent was to replace the capacity that they were attaching to. Instead, we were using it for Operations and Maintenance.”
The board agreed to give an update to the public in about 90 days on the status of the efficiency efforts.