Residents of Montgomery and Prince George's counties will see two increases in water and sewer bills from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission bills after July 1.
The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee, also known as the "flush tax," which the General Assembly and Gov. Martin O'Malley raised this year, will double from $2.50 to $5 per month.
Because the WSSC bills households on a quarterly cycle, the charge listed on bills as the "Bay Restoration Fee," which has been $7.50, will be $15.
A 7.5 percent rate hike, approved at a joint meeting of the two counties’ councils May 10, will add about $14.58 to the typical residential customer's quarterly bill, based on daily water consumption of about 210 gallons.
Customers suffering financial hardship can get an exemption from the Bay Restoration Fee if they apply and meet two of the following four criteria.
ź received energy assistance or WSSC Water Fund assistance within the past 12 months (confirmation on official letterhead required);
ź received public assistance or food stamps within the past 12 months (confirmation on official letterhead required);
ź received veteran's or Social Security disability benefits within the past 12 months (confirmation on official letterhead required);
ź meet income criteria (current tax return required).
For additional information or to apply for the exemption, go to http://www.wsscwater.com/file/CustomerCare/bayfeeexemptionnotice20120517.pdf or call 301-206-4001.
The Bay Restoration Fee is used to help pay for water pollution-reducing improvements at wastewater treatment plants used by Maryland utilities, including the WSSC.
The WSSC rate hike will be used to repair, replace and inspect the WSSC's water and sewer infrastructure and to help cover increased costs of a court order to reduce sewer overflows.
WSSC serves about 1.8 million customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s.