In April 2016, Tennessee American Water installed a new pipe under the Tennessee River. (Photo: Tennessee American Water)

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority improved an infrastructure surcharge increase to improve the community’s water system.

The approved surcharge is a 3.57 percent increase that appears on water bills as “capital recovery riders.”

The change goes into effect today and represents a 77 cent average monthly increase for customers.

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The surcharge is used to recover the costs of renewing and replacing pipes, meeting Environmental Protection Agency requirements and supporting local economic projects, such as putting in new pipes for business sites.

“Our investments are focused on making sure that water is always there when we need it-for our homes, businesses, public health and firefighting protection,” Tennessee American Water President Valoria Armstrong said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to high standards in water quality and reliability of service to our customers.”

Infrastructure capital projects planned for this year total almost $16 million.

The largest project this year is $2 million of a total $2.5 million project to install a third water pipe across the river for customers in North Chattanooga, Red Bank and Signal Mountain.

Last April, the larger of the two existing pipes across the river experienced a large break that took approximately three weeks to repair.

The third pipe will assure redundancy and resiliency of water service for these customers.

In addition, Tennessee American Water plans to invest about $2.9 million to replace aging water mains in the community.

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