City of Seabrook residential and commercial water customers will see an increase on their October and November utility bill which will be issued in earlier December. The water rate increase was approved by Seabrook City Council earlier this year. The decision to increase rates occurred after a detailed review of a water rate study which indicated rates needed to increase to cover costs associated with the city’s Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), ongoing maintenance and operation fees, and the anticipated increase to Seabrook’s water contract with the City of Pasadena. The last water rate increase occurred in October 2018.
A top priority project on the city’s CIP is the wastewater retrofit project that will construct a new wastewater facility located next to the Seabrook Public Works Complex on the north side of town. The location has a substantially higher elevation than the existing wastewater treatment plant and will be able to process 2.5 million gallons of waste per day. The wastewater treatment plant located on Main Street was completely inundated by storm surge during Hurricane Ike. The floodwaters and debris rendered the plant inoperable, preventing thousands of residents who evacuated from returning home. While the City of Seabrook has been awarded a $3.9 million FEMA grant for the project, Seabrook still has to match the funds by 25 percent.
The water rate increase will also help to fund the installation of smart water meters. Smart meters help consumers conserve water by allowing them to personally monitor their water usage and helping them detect leaks sooner. The meters will also improve the use of technology with the city’s water system enabling a customer to graph and track their usage throughout the month and year and then make real-time adjustments based on their needs.
A customer who utilizes approximately 5,000 gallons per month may see a rate increase by approximately $10 each month; however, this amount will vary based on monthly water and wastewater usage and meter size. According to the city’s utility billing supervisor, Myra Perez, the average residential water customer consumes 8,000 gallons per month. Now is the time for residents to implement simple water conservation efforts which may easily prevent them from seeing a significant increase in fees.
- Take shorter showers and install water-saving shower-heads.
- Minimize the use of kitchen garbage disposals.
- Clean walkways with a broom rather than water hoses or power washers.
- Recycle water for watering plants and consider using a rain barrel.
- Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Fix leaks in your home.
- Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator instead of with water.
- Checking for and repairing common household leaks.
- Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes.
- Consider installing water-saving appliances and fixtures.
- Cut back on the number of days and amount of time you water your yard.
- Cover your pool to reduce evaporation.
- Have your vehicle washed at a commercial car wash.
- Turn off the sprinklers when it rains.
Seabrook’s new water rates were compared to communities from across the region and state before adoption. Out of 574 cities surveyed in the state of Texas, the new rates will rank Seabrook 178th in the state for the cost associated with the use of 5,000-gallons.
Additional information on water and wastewater rates, including a detailed breakdown of meter size and billing based on usage, has been posted online at www.seabrooktx.gov/utility-rates.