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San Diego Settles Sewer Lawsuit

The City of San Diego has tentatively settled a lawsuit alleging the city unfairly charged homeowners for sewer rates that industrial users should have paid. The settlement gives $35 million to sewer customers who were over billed between 1994 and 2004. City Attorney Mike Aguirre estimates the overcharges ran about $19 million a year.

Aguirre says the settlement amount must be understood in the context of the city’s limited means.

Aguirre: We’re trying to solve problems with very little money to work with. And this is the best we could do under the circumstances. As I said, it is not beautiful. It is not elegant. But it’s a solution and one that gets another problem behind us.

City officials say sewer customers who qualify for the refund will get an automatic credit on their bill. Refunds will be distributed over the next four years. The announcement comes a day before Mayor Jerry Sanders plans to boost water and wastewater fees. The City Council and a Superior Court Judge must still approve the settlement agreement.

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