Water Rate Increase Goes into Effect on January 1, 2021
Hicksville, N.Y. (October 29, 2020)— The Hicksville Water District (HWD) is in the process of constructing nearly a dozen of the required Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) and Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) treatment systems at well sites impacted by 1,4-dioxane. With more than $70 million in capital improvements being made to satisfy new drinking water standards, the District is announcing a modest rate increase needed to fund these required treatment projects. The impact to the average customer water bill will be approximately $6 per quarter.
“We never want to raise water rates for our residents, but the financial situation created by the need for emerging contaminant treatment has left us no choice,” said HWD Chairman William Schuckmann. “The District prides itself on ensuring that our drinking water is of the highest quality now and for future generations. In order to continue upgrading infrastructure, a nominal increase is necessary to help cover these costs. We will continue to seek additional sources of funding whenever we can to lessen this financial burden on our residents.”
Due to swift action by the Hicksville Water District Board of Commissioners, two AOP treatment systems are up and running at Plants 1 and 4, which are now producing water that is non-detect of 1,4-dioxane. Plants 5, 8 and 9 are also each under construction to have AOP treatment added. The District has been awarded $17 million in grants from New York State for these projects, but will need to bond an additional $50 million to make up the difference. The District’s current budget of $12.2 million will balloon by an additional $4.8 million each year to pay for debt service, plus another $1.8 million each year for operations and maintenance of the new treatment facilities. These costs are the single driver for the necessary rate increase.
“This is an unfunded mandate from the State, which, unfortunately, means that our residents are going to have to pick up the tab,” added Chairman Schuckmann. “We’ve done our best to keep the increases as minimal as possible while also holding the line on taxes. Our only hope is that our residents understand the need for this investment and can appreciate the amount of effort and diligence this District continues to put behind this unprecedented investment in our water infrastructure.”
On July 30, 2020, the New York State Health Department finalized regulations establishing a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for 1,4-dioxane, PFOA and PFOS. The State has also provided the Hicksville Water District, and many other water providers throughout the State, with a deferral which grants them two additional years to get treatment systems online while remaining in compliance with the new water quality standards.
Residents with questions about the capital investments being made, the District’s new rates or their water quality, are asked to call 516-931-0184 or visit the District’s website at www.hicksvillewater.com.