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National City Considers Raising Sewer Costs

The Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant sits just above the ocean, Nov. 5, ...

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Above: The Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant sits just above the ocean, Nov. 5, 2014.

UPDATE 10:23 p.m. Dec. 5, 2017

The City Council voted 4-1 to adopt the ordinance establishing new sewer charges in National City. The council will vote on Dec. 19 to give it final approval.

Original Story

People living in National City will soon find out if their sewer rates will increase. Tuesday evening, the city council will vote to raise rates by 9.8 percent a year for five years.

Single family homes in National City currently pay $32.08 a month for sewer. If the proposed increase passes, that jumps to $51.18 by 2023.

In October, the city council was presented with results of a sewer rate study, which found the city will begin to lose money unless monthly rates increase soon.

National City is one of a number of municipalities that uses the city of San Diego’s Metropolitan Sewage Treatment System to dispose of its waste.

The city of San Diego is currently building a "Pure Water" treatment plant and plans to pass some of those costs along to cities that use its sewer services, including National City. This has left Mayor Ron Morrison frustrated.

"People are going to look at that and say, 'Wait a minute, I’m on a fixed income, we’re a low income city, and you’re going to raise this 50 percent over the next five years — how dare you as city council,'' Morrison said at an Oct. 3 city council meeting. "The problem is the money has to be paid out of the sewer fund ... and we don't have a choice."

RELATED: City Approves Permit For Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant

Photo credit: Antonio Zuniga/KPBS

A graphic showing the proposed sewer rate increase for people living in National City.

Rates would actually increase as much as 37 percent for single-family homes, not quite 50 percent.

When the sewer rate study was presented on Oct. 3, a resident did ask about National City creating their own sewer disposal system. But Mayor Morrison dismissed that idea.

"The only option we would have is if we would want to dump it in San Diego Bay," Morrison said. "I don't think anyone is going to go for that."

The last time people living in National City saw monthly sewer rates rise was in 2006.

The City Council voted 4-1 to adopt the ordinance establishing new sewer charges in National City. The council will vote on Dec. 19 to give it final approval.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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