Water rates to increase in July

Residents in Ottumwa shouldnâ??t be surprised if they open their water bill to find the amount a little bit higher than normal.

Ottumwa Water and Hydro general manager Mike Heffernan said the increase is due in part to an increase in chemical costs because of low river flow. The low river flow makes the water more difficult to treat, therefore making it more expensive.

Because the water plant is more than 50 years old, maintenance costs are rising as well.

The good news is that the increase will not be felt too much by consumers.

â??The average user now uses 5 bill units of water which is about 3,700 gallons a month and they pay about $22 to $22.50 for that so they'll see a dollar and penny increase on their monthly bill for the average user. Of course if you use less it'll be less and if you use more itâ??ll be more,â?? said Heffernan.

The increase will take effect in July.

This may not be the last time rates go up. Heffernan said he anticipates water rates will be rising steadily over the next few years.