By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Your water bill may be going up. The Philadelphia Water Department has asked for a phased-in rate increase, totaling 10.5 percent by September of 2020.

Water Commissioner Debra McCarty says the rate increase would cover capital improvements to water mains and sewers and upgrades at treatment plants. After a particularly tough winter, with more than 600 water main breaks in three months, she says the department wants to speed up the rate at which aging pipes are replaced.

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“[In our five-year plan], we’re moving from around 20 miles a year to 40 miles a year of water main replacement and with the sewers,” she said. “We’re going from about 6-8 miles a year to 10-12 miles a year.”

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McCarty also says operating costs are going up, even though the department has a good incentive to keep them low.

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“All of our employees live in the city,” she explained. “They pay the same rates as everybody else.”

The water rate board has four months to decide. There will be six public hearings.

Click here to view the schedule and for more information about the request. 

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