Water Rates Increase for Some on South Jacksonville System, Village Contemplating New Water Plant

By Jeremy Coumbes on May 9, 2023 at 12:07pm

Certain water customers with the Village of South Jacksonville will soon see an increase in their water bill, while other increases and a potential major project are being considered.

The Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a water rate increase last week for a segment of rural customers between the village and the municipality’s treatment plant near Oxville.

Village President Dick Samples says the water rates across the board need to be raised, but for now, only those along the line from the plant will see the increase on their bill. “The transmission line only, not in the village. So all the village customers will not have any increase, as of yet. It’s coming but not as of yet.”

Samples says the water rates across the board have not been raised in more than a decade and an increase to help cover costs is inevitable. He says the customers along the transmission line were increased first because those addresses were paying a lesser amount per month.

Customers on the transmission line don’t pay for sewer rates where the folks here in the village are subject to a sewer rate. So when we had to go onto the city water, it’s a double hurt because it’s costing us eight dollars per thousand gallons and we were charging three or four dollars per thousand gallons.”

The rates for customers on the transmission line will now be $11.00 per 1,000-gallon unit with a minimum of two units for a minimum monthly charge of $22.00, with additional usage billed at $8.00 per every thousand gallons used thereafter.

Also coinciding with a discussion of the water rates was the treatment of the water itself and ongoing issues at the treatment plant. Samples told the board last night that the village may need to take a hard look at a total revamp of the plant.

It’s going to cost us somewhere around a quarter million, maybe three hundred thousand dollars to refurbish the media, which is the cleaning stuff they put in the tanks. And it’s twenty years old, and it’s worn out.

We flush the water now about every three or four days whereas it used to be every two weeks. But we’re flushing it more and more and more to clean the water up and try and give the best product we can to the village.

It may be more feasible for us to go in and put a brand new system in to replace the twenty-year-old system and go from there.”

Part of the plan, if a major treatment plant upgrade were to happen, would include moving the water softening plant down to the main plant at Oxville from its current location next to the water tower on Vandailia.

The softener plant has not been utilized in a number of years and requires some major upgrades as well.

Utility Superintendent Brian English said during the meeting that he has had some preliminary discussions with Benton & Associates who said some grant funding could be available that would help offset some of the costs, however, he and Samples both stressed that a major rehabilitation of the plant is simply in the talking stage at this point with much more research to be done to see if it is even feasible.