HUGHSON -- Most residents will pay more for their water this year after the City Council approved new metered water rates to pay for a cleanup of arsenic in the city's water supply.
The bill for an average amount of water use will run $47.41, up from a flat rate of $38.65. By 2012, the bill for average usage will crest at $90.05.
Councilmen Thom Crowder, Matt Beekman and Ben Manley voted for the new rates. Mayor Ramon Bawanan and Councilman Doug Humphreys were absent.
In January, the state sent Hughson a "cease and desist" order because the arsenic in the city's drinking water exceeds federal standards.
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Three of the five groundwater wells posted higher-than-allowed levels of arsenic. The allowable is 10 parts per billion; the wells measured in at 11, 12 and 17 parts per billion.
The City Council is looking at two options to clean up its water -- treating the water locally from existing wells or participating in the Turlock Irrigation District's proposed surface water treatment plant.
Crowder said he was "committed" to participating in the TID project.
Hughson's annual cost for the TID project would be $1.5 million versus $1.17 million for treating Hughson's water for arsenic.
In other action, the City Council:
Approved a balanced $1.95 million general fund budget. The city overcame a $65,000 deficit by using interest earned on general fund reserves and finding savings with reduced contract rates from the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department.
Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2337.