City's aging water pipes may soon see relief, but your wallet ma - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

City's aging water pipes may soon see relief, but your wallet may not

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Utility bills could soon be on the rise for City of Columbia customers if city council votes yes.

Council gave a first reading of the 2017-2018 budget at Tuesday night’s council meeting. On June 20, a final reading and vote will take place that would set the budget and rate increases in stone to go into effect July 1.

Those increases include a $5 stormwater fee increase along with a 4.75 percent increase to water bills. Leaders within the Department of Utilities and Engineering have said those funds would support the department’s Capital Improvement Program.

It’s set to fund $40 million in improvements to the water system, $93 million in improvements for the storm water system and $80 million in wastewater improvements.

Utilities Communication Manager Victoria Kramer says projects to replace water pipes in the Booker Washington Heights and Earlwood neighborhoods are already in design.

If the budget’s passed, those projects would begin within the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The design would also start a similar project in the Rosewood area.

People living in those neighborhoods have complained for years of discolored water. Records obtained by WIS show the city’s received more than 7,000 related grievances in the last five years -- over 2,000 alone in 2016

RELATED: Take a look at the city of Columbia's water discoloration troubles in 2016.

"I have problems with yellow water coming out of the tap here. It also leaves my toilet bowl with a yellow ring around it,” said Miles Johnson.

Johnson says he’s lived at his home in the Earlwood neighborhood for four years. He drives more than an hour every two weeks to fill plastic water jugs at the Blackville Healing Springs instead of using his tap water.

"I have seen them on numerous occasions, almost monthly, opening the fire hydrants all the way down River Drive and two blocks over to the south and tea-colored water coming out of it," Johnson said.

He’s closely followed the rate increase debate, and he’s cautiously watching to see what council does.

"I hope that it works out very well for them. I think we've been promised water quality increases in the past and they have not occurred. If it provides results, I'd be more than in favor of it," Johnson said.  

To convince those still fighting against rising bills, the city’s holding a series of open houses for customers ahead of council’s final vote.

Maria Smoke stopped by the first event Tuesday night. She says she lives in an older neighborhood where aging pipes cause daily headaches like brown water and pressure problems.

"I feel a lot better. I was very concerned about how much it was going to be... How much it was going to affect my bill. I do feel a lot better now. So my only concern is that the money they're raising, the increase, will go to making these things happen rather than just mismanagement of the funds," customer Maria Smoke said. 

The city plans to hold two more drop-in events before council votes. The first will be Thursday, June 15 at the Eau Claire Print Building on Ensor Avenue from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The second will be Tuesday, June 20 at City Hall from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A full list of projects included in the Capital Improvement Program can be found in the following links: 

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved. 

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:00 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:00:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>
  • 'Golden State Killer' suspect arrested, is former police officer

    'Golden State Killer' suspect arrested, is former police officer

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:57 PM EDT2018-04-25 16:57:26 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 4:32 PM EDT2018-04-25 20:32:13 GMT

    The 72-year-old suspect has been identified as a former police officer and "nice guy."

    More >>

    The 72-year-old suspect has been identified as a former police officer and "nice guy."

    More >>
  • Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-04-26 01:28:35 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:30 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:30:22 GMT
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

    More >>

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

    More >>
  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • One lane open after tractor trailer collision on I-20WB near Monticello Rd.

    One lane open after tractor trailer collision on I-20WB near Monticello Rd.

    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:40 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:40:19 GMT

    A collision on I-20 Westbound has shut down all lanes to traffic at Exit 68 near Monticello Road. 

    More >>

    A collision on I-20 Westbound has shut down all lanes to traffic at Exit 68 near Monticello Road. 

    More >>
  • Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Geologists say N. Korea's nuclear test site likely collapsed

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 9:28 PM EDT2018-04-26 01:28:35 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:30 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:30:22 GMT
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently announced an end to the nation’s nuclear testing. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

    More >>

    A study by Chinese geologists shows the mountain where North Korea has conducted five successive nuclear bomb tests has collapsed.

    More >>
  • Injuries reported in accident involving Comet bus

    Injuries reported in accident involving Comet bus

    Thursday, April 26 2018 7:23 AM EDT2018-04-26 11:23:09 GMT

    Officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to a traffic incident involving a COMET bus Wednesday night. 

    More >>

    Officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to a traffic incident involving a COMET bus Wednesday night. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly