NewsRegionOakland County

Water bills jump to fund water storage facility for some Oakland Township residents

Posted at 6:21 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 18:29:03-04

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — At about 750 homes in Oakland Township people are going to their mailbox, getting their water bill, and getting a shock. Many are just finding out about a major increase in the price of water.

As 7 Action News covered the change in the cost of water in this Oakland Township neighborhood, crews faced a challenge. Many didn’t know details about how much it would cost them.

“This is the new bill,” said Megan Rooney.

She grabbed her new bill after we asked her how much more she was paying, to find out. She previously paid about $300 a quarter.

“It's $1,638 for three months. It’s crazy,” she said.

“I just found out about it when I opened the bill over the weekend. It was over $500. My last one was $94, so there is a huge difference,” said Jessica Black.

The reason? The state now mandates townships have water storage for many community wells. As a result, a $5.4 million water storage facility is being built off Rochester Road south of Snell to serve nearby neighborhoods.

Around 750 residents served by it have to pay for an approximately $300,000 a year bond payment for the next 30 years.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash said it will make the system more reliable and safe.

“We are putting in a 500,000 gallon storage tank and a related pumping station and a way of using chlorine as a disinfectant. We are doing these things to keep up the water quality, system reliability, and for public health,” said Nash.

“It is expensive. The township board thought they were picking the fairest way, the more you use the more you pay,” said Adam Kline, Oakland Township Manager.

Kline says the township has been having meetings about this for years, but they could have been more vocal about when payments would start. He says the board is open to charging a flat rate, which would average about $400 a year more per home impacted or the current rate by volume ($83.00 per 1,000 cubic feet).

“It is horrible. They are going to have to wait. You can’t just come up with that kind of money out of the blue,” said Rooney as she held her $1,638 bill, of which more than half was the payment.

There are other neighborhoods that have already been assessed such fees for water storage and others that soon will also have to pay for such a project.