Wastewater rates set to increase, city gov’t says

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Wastewater rates set to increase, city gov’t says

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Wednesday that it will raise Seoul’s sewer rates by an average of 15 percent and up to 21 percent starting this month.

The fee is charged monthly to cover the treatment of waste; the city government determines the wastewater bill for a household based on the amount of water used.

Rates for public buildings will see an average 19 percent increase, while typical households will be required to pay 15 percent more on average. There will be a 14 percent hike for public baths.

The 15 to 20 percent increase means citizens will pay between 40 won ($0.03) to 140 won per cubic meter of water used. If a household uses 31 cubic meters, for instance, the bill will be adjusted from 8,410 won to 9,700 won.

The city government explained that the hike was inevitable given the rise in maintenance fees.

It added that the extra revenue will go toward a number of maintenance and improvement projects, including the renovation and extension of pipelines and the replacement of aging sewer lines.

“We’ve decided to raise rates because the city plans to improve the facilities that are responsible for discharging wastewater,” an official of the municipal government said.

“We are replacing old sewer lines to prepare for the damaging impact that [potential] natural disasters could have on the sewage system,” the official continued. “But more fundamentally, the cost of managing the sewage system far exceeds the fees that we charge. We can’t cover the cost.”

The city said it is also working on improving the environment surrounding the sewage system, addressing the stench and transforming the area along the main line into a recreational park.

Seoul has kept sewer rates consistent from 2005 through 2011, but it has raised fees since 2012.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]


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