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City continues to push water conservation

Water customers in Yukon could soon get a break from what many feel are higher than normal water bills.
The city council is expected to discuss, in the near future, the possibility of returning to summer and winter rates that could impact water bills.
Specifically, the council will look at reducing the rate for charges related to sewer services during the summer.
City Manager Jim Crosby said currently customers are charged sewer rates based on the amount of water that is used.
However, during the summer that amount is often misleading because much of the water goes into the ground and not into the sewer system.
The sewer rate often matches the cost of purchasing water, which doubles the cost of the utility bill.
Crosby said the council will discuss that issue at its next work session, which will be on Nov. 5.
Crosby said that residents still are urged to conserve water.
The city remains on a permanent odd-even rationing plan that has been established by Oklahoma City, from which Yukon purchases the bulk of its water.
The water, he said, is blended with water from Yukon’s well system to meet the regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency for the amount of naturally occurring arsenic in the supply.
The EPA’s standard is 10 parts per million, and water taken directly from the well system is above that level.
The blend is currently about 60-40 with the majority of the water coming from Oklahoma City.
Yukon reserves 60 million gallons of water per month from Oklahoma City, for which it pays $1.73 per 1,000 gallons of water.
That amount is going to increase to $1.82 beginning in January and again will increase to $1.91 the following year.
This is the amount Yukon pays to simply reserve the water. When it is actually used, the city pays an additional 49 cents per 1,000 gallons. That number also will increase in January to 51 cents and 53 cents in 2021.
Crosby said those amounts are passed along to city customers.
Despite those figures, Crosby said the average utility bill for Yukon customers is still well below the average for other area cities.
The average for 5,000 gallons of water is $29.68. The cost for the same amount in Yukon is $26.60.
The avergage for sewer is $22. 58. Yukon’s is the lowest of the area communities at $14.50. The next closest is Norman at $15.80.
Yukon’s garbage rate is actually above the average of $17.70. However, Crosby said Yukon also offers each customer two polycarts, while most others only offer one.
The average bill before taxes and other surcharges, he said, is $59.89.
The average bill across the nine cities is $69.96.
Among the surcharges is one that each customer pays to help offset the cost of purchasing water from Oklahoma City.
Crosby also pointed out that the water bill customers receive this month is not for the water that has just been used. It is at least a month behind.
“The demand for household water has really increased over the years. It has not gone down,” he said.
The city manager said the city continues to look at options that would reduce the city’s costs. However, right now, buying water from Oklahoma City remains the most economical option.

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