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Tulsa City Council Reviews Sewer Charges

Here's the latest on changes to Tulsa's "capped" rate for sewer charges. It's going up for many Tulsans, because of the drought.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says all of the water that Tulsa uses ends up at one of Tulsa's sewage treatment plants. The city knows exactly how much sewage comes in, but not where it comes from. That's makes sewage bills for individual homes an educated guess.

Mike Buchart with the City of Tulsa Public Works: "So we have to estimate that using a certain process." The city council wanted to know how it all works - because of calls they're getting about rising sewer bills.

The city sent out 20,000 letters to let people know they'll likely soon pay more. The city figures the sewer charge by tracking water use during the winter.

This year the drought had many people watering lawns - using more water than usual - which has bumped up what they pay for sewer. The council wanted to make sure there was some relief valve for customers - and it's available with just a phone call.

Mike Buchart: “If they use the word drought or if they've watered in the winter." The city will review the change - and can give some customers instant adjustments.

Since the cap rate is going up for so many, and the rate is going up for all - the council wanted to make sure the sewer charges were fair.

Tulsa city councilor Cason Carter: "While it may not be 100 percent accurate, it is fair in the sense that it's the best way we have and the way it's done in cities across the country."

The number for people wanting their sewer charges reviewed is 596-9511. This change only affects the maximum rate for sewer - but many people hit that in the summer - so the cap rate is important.
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