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The Herndon Town Council is considering increases to water and sewer rates (file photo)

In an effort to shore up its water and sewer fund, the Town of Herndon is considering increasing water and sewer rates.

If approved, the quarterly service charge for water would increase by nearly 18% or roughly $10.54. For water rates per every 1,000 gallon used, the charge would be more nominal — a little over 3%.

The quarterly service charge would increase by $7.40. Billing schedules are determined based on the size of the meter.

There would be an additional charge of $5.64 per 1,000 gallons for all water used during peak periods — defined as July through November — and greater than the average use in the previous two quarters.

“If this rate increase proposal is not chosen, retained earnings will need to be used to cover the variance,” staff noted.

Councilmember Pradip Dhakal said the town should consider evaluating the industry standard definition of “peak periods.”

“Does it make sense to only apply that for summer uses and remove that for, I would say, the latter three months? Dhakal said at a council meeting on Wednesday (April 6).

The proposal was discussed at an April 5 work session as part of the town’s deliberations on the budget for the next fiscal year.

If approved, all changes would take in effect on or after July 1 of this year.

The town is expected to continue discussion at a work session on April 12. Town manager Bill Ashton expects to examine the issue, including how to define peak periods.

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Fire hydrant (via Fairfax County)

Your drinking water could see some changes — differences that water officials say are harmless.

Fairfax Water started its annual flushing program today (Monday). Instead of its usual practice of disinfecting the supply with chloramine, it will temporarily stop adding ammonia to drinking water in an effort to maintain the system’s quality.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates utility chemical levels, says both chlorine and chloramine disinfectants are safe to drink and help kill germs.

While the U.S. has chlorinated drinking water since the early 20th century, it can create harmful effects called disinfection byproducts, so many utilities have shifted to using chloramines, which are less aggressive over the long term.

Fairfax Water shared some tips to handle the changes in drinking water:

You may notice a chlorine taste and odor in your drinking water while free chlorine is utilized. If you are especially sensitive to the taste and odor of chlorine, try keeping an open container of drinking water in your refrigerator. This will enable the chlorine to dissipate, thus reducing the chlorine taste. Remember – drinking water has a shelf life! Change out the water in your refrigerated container weekly.

The flushing period will last through June 13 for most of Fairfax County. McLean, Merrifield, and nearby areas will have the process end on May 9.

The changes involve Washington Aqueduct customers throughout the region. Water for the area comes from the Occoquan Reservoir and Potomac River.

Photo via Fairfax County

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