NEWS & COMMUNITY
Our News and Community section is your direct link to important information and goings on. Communicating with our customers is an important part of delivering high quality service and we strive to keep you informed of important topics and news to be aware of.
Huntsville, Hallsville voters to decide future of water, wastewater systems
The voters of Hallsville and Huntsville will be going to the polls on Nov. 5 with the opportunity to sell their respective city’s water and/or wastewater system.
In Hallsville, voters can Vote Yes on the Sewer Question to give their city leadership permission to sell the wastewater system, potentially to Missouri American Water. In Huntsville, voters can elect to sell their water and wastewater systems directly to Missouri American Water.
Voters in Huntsville will be asked whether the city is authorized to sell its water and wastewater system to Missouri American Water for $500,000.
Wastewater compliance issues, along with growing infrastructure needs and EPA/DNR regulations, is a financial challenge for Huntsville. The city needs to spend approximately $4 million on the systems to get back into regulatory compliance.
Selling the water and sewer systems will lower rates and bring funding to make necessary system improvements.
- Residents with an average use of 4,000 gallons per month will save $60.74 on water and wastewater per month or $728.91 per year.
- Proceeds from the sale will pay off the city’s water and wastewater debt, and the remainder will be used to accomplish the city’s priorities.
- Missouri American Water will invest $5 million over the next 5 years to improve the drinking water and wastewater systems.
In both cities, Missouri American Water is able to leverage its statewide rate base to help keep costs low, while its nationwide purchasing power as a subsidiary of American Water allows the company to save money on equipment and materials. Future rates would have to be approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Missouri American Water is committed to its communities. The company has provided water and sewer services throughout Missouri for more than a century. Its employees live here, and the company provides support to local charities and events.
In Hallsville, voters will be asked whether the city shall sell its wastewater system.
Environmental challenges plague the city’s wastewater system. Hallsville's wastewater treatment practice involves land application of untreated waste on 395 acres of nearby farm fields. The city does not own these fields and is therefore subject to consideration by the land owners. Wastewater is stored in lagoons near these fields. Untreated waste must be discharged from the lagoons into nearby streams during some precipitation events, violating Missouri Department of Natural Resources regulations. This happened as recently as May 2019. The wastewater system is unable to expand to accommodate expected growth in the region.
Missouri American Water believes the Hallsville wastewater system requires $3.3 million in upgrades to achieve DNR compliance. Missouri American has committed to spending this amount in the next five years. The needed upgrades include:
- Biosolids removal from lagoons
- Pump station upgrades
- Collection system improvements
- Upgrading the land application process
Missouri American Water offers many benefits to the communities it serves, including technical expertise and economies of scale that will allow the company to make these needed upgrades while keeping costs lower than other entities, including if Hallsville elects to keep the system. While our rate is a flat $38.75 for residential customers, we believe rates could climb to $68 per month or higher with other wastewater solutions, including Hallsville keeping the system or selling to other entities.