After years of having to buy more water than it could sell, the Coweta County Water Authority is selling everything it has to buy, and then some.
And that marked increase in customer demand has helped the authority stave off rate increases.
The authority has “take or pay” contracts with Griffin and Newnan Utilities that require it to buy 3 million gallons of water, per day, from each. Thanks to a growing customer base – and particularly the Niagara water bottling plant – the authority can now sell all of that water and water that is being produced at the authority’s B.T. Brown Water Treatment Plant. In fact, starting May 1, the water plant, which for most of its life produced just enough water to keep the plant running, began 24-hour operation.
Niagara’s water use varies, but sometimes it’s over a million gallons per day. In April, it averaged 670,000 gallons per day, and in May, it was 800,000, said Authority CEO Jay Boren.
This week, the authority’s board approved a rate and fee sheet that is posted on the authority’s website, www.cowetawater.com
Rates haven’t gone up – they’ve been the same since 2010 – but the rate sheet puts all of the various rates and fees in one place for the public to see.
The authority’s board wanted to vote to approve all the fees, said CEO Jay Boren.
Boren said that the rates the authority are charged by Newnan Utilities and the city of Griffin have gone up each year, and the authority has been able to absorb those increases. That won’t, however, last forever.
Boren said many utilities tie their rates to the consumer price index.
Something that is fairly new is a “capacity fee” for new residential sewer customers. For the most part, the authority doesn’t provide residential sewer service.
But there are some areas that are grandfathered in for sewer, such as White Oak and Shenandoah, and several senior housing developments that have been approved by the Coweta County Commissioners will be served by sewer.
Some of those senior developments will tie on the current sewer system, while others will be served by a decentralized “package plant” that will be owned and operated by the authority.
Capacity charges range from $3,200 for senior communities under the RRCC zoning, to $3,600 for senior communities at Lake Redwine, residences in the White Oak/Shenandoah/Wentworth areas, and Arnco, Sargent and East Newnan and the proposed Twelve Parks development. The new Cotton Mills development in East Newnan is charged $3,950 per new meter, and new homes in Blalock Lakes will be charged a $5,700 capacity fee.
The capacity fees help cover the cost of construction of sewer plants and upgrades to sewer lines and are in addition to the connection or tap fee of $1,300. The capacity fees only apply to new construction.