Wednesday, August 8, 2012
With sewer and water rates on the rise, an upcoming public meeting will show residents how to potentially save money on their water bill by using rain barrels.
“Volunteers from the city’s program will be there to show people how to set up, connect and maintain rain barrels,” said Buell Connell, who helped organize the communitywide informational program with the Brainerd Hills Neighborhood Association. “They will also be available to show people how to set theirs up if they bring their own.”
The free program will be held Aug. 9 at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 6314 East Brainerd Road, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Representatives from the city of Chattanooga Project Rain Barrel initiative will be on-hand.
“Using rain barrels is just a way of going back to a method of conserving water that was used many years ago,” said Connell. “It’s a small-scale way of being environmentally aware and responsible.”
In addition to helping conserve water, he said the barrels may also be a way of helping locals save money in the future. Chattanooga residents are looking at several water and sewer rate increases next year, depending on how the city handles a proposed 23-percent rate increase from Tennessee American Water Company and $250 million in sewer repairs mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The City Council has not yet decided if it will intervene in the proposed rate hike that will automatically go into effect if not denied by the Tennessee Regulatory Authority by December 2012. It has also not yet voted on a proposed sewer rate increase of less than 10 percent that could put residents’ sewer rates at $5.79 per 1,000 gallons used. That proposal is an increase of 52 cents per gallon used from 2012 rates.
“We all know that the price of water is going up and for every increased dollar we spend on water there will consequently be an added amount for a sewer fee,” said Connell. “It just makes sense to use a rain barrel and save water where you can.”
The benefits don’t stop there, according to the Brainerd Hills resident.
“We’ve noticed that the plants seem to do better with the rain water than the chlorinated water from the tap,” he said.
The program will be an opportunity to show locals what’s available as far as rain barrel options and encourage awareness about the city’s program, he said.
For more information contact Connell at 499-5989.