Wastewater Treatment:

What Does It Cost the Homeowner?

CED-79-35: Published: Feb 13, 1979. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1979.

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The impact the high cost of constructing waste treatment projects is having on individual users expressed on a per household basis is addressed. It is expensive to construct, finance, operate, and maintain a conventional wastewater treatment system. As the costs of such systems increase in absolute terms, so do the homeowner's costs.

The impact of these costs is not easily measured since there is no agreement on when sewer service costs become too much for a homeowner to pay. The total cost of a sewer system is affected by many variables, including: (1) prices when construction is undertaken and the rate of inflation during construction; (2) the topography of the area in which the system is located; (3) the system's size, including the degree to which design capacity allows for future population growth; (4) the level of wastewater treatment provided; and (5) interest rates charged at the time financing is arranged. While the Federal Government and some States pay part of the construction costs, local governments must still obtain funds for a major share of project costs. However, no strong homeowner opposition to the level of annual user charges has been experienced and few communities are currently encountering serious problems financing the local share of project costs.

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