For Release 12 noon Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Billy Ray McKelvy
De Queen Mayor
Utility customers of the City of De Queen will soon see a slight increase in sanitation and sewer bills, but users who irrigate in the summer will get a break.
Sewer rates will increase $2 per month on the minimum, plus an additional 15 cents per thousand gallons on usage. For residential customers, the increase should be less than $3 per month. It was the first rate increase on sewer in eight years, the last increase being in 2005.
But the new rate ordinance restores summer sewer rates which will benefit water users who like to water lawns and gardens. Sewer bills are calculated based on the amount of water used. But water used for irrigation does not go back into the sewer system for treatment.
Now, summer sewer usage (months of April through September) will be determined by the average water consumption for the six-month period of October through March. Customers who have lived at the service address less than 12 months will still be charged for water based on water consumption until the winter average can be determined.
Even after the rate increase, De Queen’s utility bills compare very favorably with other Arkansas cities. Water and sewer customers benefit from having a large customer to share the cost of production. Last year, 71 percent of the water sold by the city was used by Pilgrim’s at its De Queen processing plant.
A notice printed on the latest water bills notifies users that the 2012 Consumer Confidence report on the water system is now available online. De Queen’s water system had no violations in 2012. You can access the report on the state health department web site at www.healthyarkansas.com. It is also available on the city’s web site at www.cityofdequeen.com.