Members of the Buckeye Water District Rate Study Committee met Thursday morning, July 23, to consider lowering the bulk water rates. Committee member Gene McGaffick indicated that competition from various municipalities in the area is severely undercutting BWD rates. The meeting was held at the BWD Water Treatment Plant.
Bulk water rates apply to customers that use excessive amounts of water. They usually have to commit to buying at least 100,000 gallons a month. The average household uses around 8,000 gallons or less per month. Lately it has become lucrative to sell water to oil & gas well drillers for use in the fracking process. The Columbiana County Port Authority recently brokered a deal with the City of East Liverpool where they buy water from the city. They then turn around and sell it to users for fracking.
Currently BWD charges $15 per 1,000 gallons to bulk water customers. The Committee will recommend that the Board of Trustees lower the rates to meet competition. If approved by the Board new rates will be $10.17 per 1,000 gallons for treated, potable water and $8 per 1,000 gallons for raw, untreated water. BWD pumps their raw water out of the Ohio River.
Board President Mike Ryan emphasized that residential water rates will not be affected. In spite of what County Republican Party Chairman Dave Johnson assumes in his recent letter to the editor BWD is not considering any rate increases for residential customers. Ryan said the on-going litigation with East Liverpool requires them to operate on a very thin budget but it will not force them to raise rates as Johnson indicates.
Johnson’s letter appeared in last Sunday’s East Liverpool Review. It was a political slam aimed at East Liverpool Mayor Jim Swogger and State Representative candidate Nick Barborak. Both Swogger and Barborak are members of the Democratic Party. That letter also insulted Judge Ashley Pike, a fellow Republican. Johnson’s letter said Pike’s judgment against BWD was “a liability which was expanded by Judge Ashley Pike, in effect roping in the taxpayers of all Columbiana Count”. It goes on to state “this case was not only a travesty of justice but an assault on the taxpayers unlike any in the history of this county”. Whatever logic Johnson is using in his rant it will not force BWD to consider rate increases for their customers.
The next scheduled meeting of the BWD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Thursday, August 16. That meeting will begin at 9 AM in Wellsville’s Council Chambers.