The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wastewater rate increase to ensure services maintained


September 15, 2018


Ironwood — Faced with equipment nearing the end of its life cycle, the Gogebic-Iron Wastewater Authority recently raised its rates to ensure operations can continue without interruption.

The authority, created in 1983, treats wastewater for the city of Ironwood, Ironwood Township and the city of Hurley to ensure it’s clean and safe before it’s released into the Montreal River. Its current facilities include a plant built in 1986 to treat a daily flow of 3.4 million gallons per day, with a peak capacity of 10 million gallons per day during wet weather.

Plant manager Mark Bowman said the price increase that went into effect July 1 at the start of the authority’s fiscal year ensures the plant will be able to continue operating, as equipment can be replaced as it reaches the end of its lifespan.

“The plant is in pretty good shape. Some things are getting near the end down there,” Bowman said.

The way the rate increases are being passed onto residents depends on the individual community, Bowman said.

Ironwood Township’s board of trustees, for example, voted Monday to raise rates for both commercial and residential customers an additional $2.02 each month. At the board meeting, township officials said the increase was only covering the extra amount the township needs to pay the authority.

The authority’s increase was determined by its asset management plan, Bowman said, which includes a replacement schedule so money can be set aside prior over the life of various pieces equipment in preparation for its eventual replacement.

The decision for an increase was made after the plan’s replacement schedule was refined, according to Bowman, to ensure the money would be available when needed as borrowing money can prove more costly due to interest payments.


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