BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Township residents complain sewer rates are too high, but it’s out of local control, officials say.
“Really what drives sewer charges is the sewage disposal fees that are not under our control,” said Dave McKee, director of Independence Township Department of Public Works. “We’re given the new rates every year from the Great Lakes Water Authority on what our charges will be for sewage disposal and we just simply pass that increase up to our customers.”
During board member comments at the end of the Township Board’s Aug. 22 meeting, Trustee Jose Aliaga thanked McKee for responding to residents’ concerns about the sewer bill.
Talking with McKee later in the week, he explained what factors raise sewage cost in the township. The director said the DPW only controls the operating costs paid by residents, which he estimates to be around $26 per Residential Equivalent Unit (REU), while the sewage disposal cost is around $76 per REU.
“We pass the cost on of the rate increase that we receive from the Great Lakes Water Authority, which is 100 percent separate from our operating cost, which we have not raised in close to five years,” he said.
He explained sewage from Independence, along with many other Oakland County communities, goes into the Clinton Oakland Interceptor Pipe controlled by the Water Commission of Oakland County. Most of that goes to the Great Lakes Water Authority, but some is diverted to Pontiac.
“Thirty percent of that flow can be diverted to Pontiac,” McKee said. “Everybody benefits from the savings, and it does kind of help to keep the rate increase from Great Lakes down.”
For more information on sewage costs in Independence, check out the Township Times in The Clarkston News’ Sept. 13 edition.