MSD plans rate hike to upgrade aging sewer system -

MSD plans rate hike to upgrade aging sewer system

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – MSD plans to spend billions to upgrade its old, aging sewers, but decision day is coming for customers to decide how to pay for it.

One way would see bills gradually increase, the other could make bills nearly double next year.

Higher bills are coming because when there’s a heavy rain, it overwhelms the old sewer system, causing raw sewage to get mixed with storm water.

Billions of gallons of raw sewage, along with storm water dumps in to the River Des Peres, and eventually into the Mississippi River. A federal consent decree calls for MSD to spend $4.7 billion over 23 years. To pay for it, MSD plans to raise rates 13 percent per year each July for five years – a gradual increase if voters approve a nearly $1 billion  bond issue in the spring.

MSD spokesman Lance LeComb says, "The average MSD single family bill would rise from $28.73 per month."

But if customers do not want their money to pay for hundreds of millions in interest on a bond issue and vote it down, the average $28 bill could jump to $70 July 1 to quickly start bringing in the big bucks needed to do the work.

“Yes it's going to be expensive, yes it's going to come from local ratepayers, but we need a modern 21st century sewer system,” says LeComb.

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