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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.

missouri american water rates table

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.

UWUA Local 335, company partner to construct new community boat ramp

On Saturday, April 28, Missouri American Water employees and members of Utility Workers Union of America Local 335 teamed up with the Union Sportsmens Alliance to dedicate a new non-motorized boat ramp at Minnie Ha Ha Park in Sunset Hills, St. Louis County. Built with funds provided by the American Water Charitable Foundation, the boat ramp was dedicated to longtime employee Ron Schneider. This video tells the story of the park, flooding, and Ron.

Missouri American Water fights human trafficking

Missouri American Water joined the Missouri business community is taking a stand against human trafficking. On Sept. 26, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, Missouri American Water President Cheryl Norton and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced the formation of a new business council to help educate companies about this problem and empower them to take action. During the announcement, which took place at the Missouri Chamber office in Jefferson City, Hawley called human trafficking “modern day slavery.” He said that research shows that many human trafficking patrons are making illegal arrangements during work hours and using work resources.

“We hope that this effort will help equip Missourians all across our state and in every industry and walk of life to better identify and act if they witness possible human trafficking anywhere,” he said. Norton said the education and information about human trafficking will be very helpful at her business. “I have almost 700 employees who are out every day facing customers and seeing what goes on … and believe me they see a lot,” she said. “I want to give them the tools that they need to understand what they are seeing and be able to act on that.” More information is available here.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, center, speaks with Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber, and Missouri American Water President Cheryl Norton during a press conference Sept. 26 to announce a new effort to stop human trafficking in Missouri.

Move Over Law

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens on June 29 signed a bill expanding the Move Over Law to protect all stationary vehicles with flashing amber or amber and white lights, including Missouri American Water utility trucks and crews. The law requires motorists to proceed with due caution, reduce speed and change lanes (when possible) when approaching a utility or emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Check out the video below for more details!