Scottsdale water rates climbing By Jonathan Athens, Tribune April 1, 2006

Scottsdale residents can expect their monthly water bill to increase by up to 5.5 percent this year because of recently enacted federal water quality standards.

The average homeowner consuming 10,200 gallons of water per month is paying $33.38. After Nov. 1, that customer will pay $34.74 per month, according to the citys water resources department.

Water resources general manager Dave Mansfield said the rate hike is the largest rate increase in recent years.

Mansfield said a federally mandated reduction in arsenic levels and additional federal requirements concerning use of chlorine to disinfect water are the reasons why water rates are increasing.

Congress in January 2001 approved lowering arsenic levels in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb.

The federal government also recently required water treatment facilities using chlorine to add another step to the treatment process.

Water quality manager Suzanne Grendahl said the new arsenic standards forced the city to shut down four of the 34 groundwater wells it operates.

The new standards also required the city to construct three arsenic reduction plants, one of which is in operation, while the other two are under construction, Grendahl said.

The arsenic levels at those now-shuttered wells, from 19 ppb to 33 ppb, did not pose a health risk, she said.

The wells, which had been in operation since the 1960s, produced a combined total of 5.6 million gallons per day.

The citys new Chaparral Water Treatment Plant, at Hayden Road and McDonald Drive, is making up for the quantity of water that came from the defunct wells, Grendahl said.

Contact Jonathan Athens by telephone at (480) 970-2342.

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