Tennessee American Water customers will see a surcharge increase. (Photo: Max Pixel, MGNOnline)

The Tennessee Public Utility Commission approved an infrastructure surcharge for 2018 Tennessee American Water projects that improve the community water system.

The surcharge, which went into effect on April 10, is a 2.48 percent increase applied to all water charges and appears on customer bills as the line item “Capital Recovery Riders.”

The rider reflects a $0.54 monthly increase for the average City of Chattanooga residential customer bill, according to a news release.

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Infrastructure capital projects planned for 2018 total $20 million and include construction of a new facility for bulk bleach for disinfection, which is a safer alternative to handle and store than the chlorine gas it is replacing. Replacement of about 16,000 feet of water main is also included in the capital plan.

Tennessee American Water will continue its systematic investment in improving the local water system, officials said in a news release.

“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 Val Armstrong said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to high standards in water quality and reliability of service for our customers.”

TPUC (formerly known as the TRA) approved in 2013 an alternative rate mechanism with Tennessee American Water annually submitting capital infrastructure projects and costs for the upcoming year. This approach leads to better planning of projects and associated costs.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released Sixth Report to Congress on “Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment” showed that Tennessee has $8.7 billion dollars in drinking water infrastructure needs (based on 2015 dollars), according to a news release.

“Tennessee American Water makes continuous investments in our drinking water system to keep drinking water affordable, safe, clean and reliable,” Armstrong said.

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