While a county commissioner initially disputed a recent sewer bill from the city of Pacific, it appears the next bill will be nearly as high.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer had disputed the $12,200 bill for March.
And now Pacific City Administrator Harold Selby said Monday that the bill for April will be $11,424, and that was for a period from March 31 to April 30.
Griesheimer serves as the president of the Brush Creek Sewer District, and the other two county commissioners — Mike Schatz and Tim Brinker — also serve as sewer district trustees.
Griesheimer had disputed the March bill but said last week that it appears the sewer district will have to pay it since there is no proof that it is inaccurate.
Normally the bills are not that much Griesheimer said. The February bill was $8,025.
The new bill is due June 30, and Griesheimer said he does not expect the sewer district to have trouble finding the money to pay it.
The sewer district recently borrowed $25,000 from Franklin County to help pay bills.
Selby said the bills have been high the past two months because of large amounts of rainfall.
The Brush Creek sewer system has infiltration problems that allow rain to get into the pipes, Selby said.
This results in a higher amount of discharge from the Brush Creek Sewer District to Pacific’s wastewater treatment plant.
Pacific treats the wastewater from the Brush Creek Sewer District under a contract.
Selby said the city charges $1.94 per 1,000 gallons.
For April, the sewer district sent 5,889,000 gallons to the city’s plant, Selby said.
While Griesheimer has disputed the March bill, Selby said the readings come from Brush Creek’s meter, which is connected to a sewer pipe. Selby said he thinks the meter gives accurate readings.
Pacific recently sued the Brush Creek Sewer District for breach of contract. One of the allegations is that the sewer district went over the monthly discharge limit set in the contract.
Selby said the sewer district is only allowed to send 200,000 gallons per day to the city’s plant.
But the sewer district argues that it can send more than that amount certain days as long as the daily average at the end of the month does not exceed 200,000 gallons.
Under the county’s reasoning of using an average it was in compliance with the contract last month because there were less than 6 million gallons.
If a new contract is worked out between the city and the sewer district, Selby said he would like to see a surcharge added if the sewer district goes over the 200,000 gallon daily limit.
This would motivate future sewer district trustees to address problems with rainwater entering the system, Selby added.
Currently, it is easier for the sewer district to just pay the higher bills instead of fix the problems, Selby added.
But Griesheimer said the sewer district is trying to identify problems with the system and that a report on the issues should be ready this month.
Selby said 765,000 gallons came from the sewer district to the city’s treatment plant Saturday.
“It was from all that rain at the end of the week,” Selby said.
Asked if he thinks the sewer district and Pacific are getting closer to resolving the lawsuit, Selby said, “I know the attorneys are sending letters back and forth.”