Statement from the City of Howe:
The City of Howe transports its sanitary sewer wastewater to the Sherman Wastewater Treatment Plant. The City of Howe bills Howe citizens for sewer based on water usage through the water meter, which is a common practice. The City of Sherman bills the City of Howe at a metered take point. The current issue is the result of the City of Sherman amount being billed to the City of Howe exceeding the amount the City of Howe is billing and collecting from its citizens. There is a budget deficit created by these two unequal amounts.
Like other cities, when there is rain, runoff and rainwater can enter the sanitary sewer system. This is commonly referred to as inflow & infiltration (I&I). This can occur many different ways and locations and can occur on the private side of sewer service lines, such as private cleanouts. Howe has ongoing efforts to identify sources of I&I and address those issues.
It has been the I&I that has led to the arrearage to Sherman. Howe has made monthly payments but had months where it could not pay the full amount. Howe has continued to pay monthly and is working to pay off the additional amounts and fees that are also added to the treatment charges. Howe believes that it and Sherman can continue to work through this issue.
Howe paid Sherman $589,356.57 in 2019, $452,450.89 in 2020, and has already made payments of $320,292.66 to date in 2021.
Sherman also seeks to cancel the existing sewer agreement and cease to treat Howe’s wastewater. That means that in addition to dealing with the current arrearage and budget issues, the City of Howe will also need to construct its own sewer plant.
The City of Howe has entered into an agreement with an engineering firm to start the process of planning and designing Howe’s own wastewater treatment plant.