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Annual DEP water fee increase could raise municipality cost by thousands

May 17, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

An increase in the annual fee water providers pay the state Department of Environmental Protection to ensure safe drinking water could cost local municipalities thousands of dollars.

The increase comes as part of the Safe Drinking Water Program annual fee increase, which took effect at the beginning of 2019. Officials hope to generate $7.5 million in funding for the state's 8,500 public water systems.

According to DEP information, the changes were initially discussed in 2016 and proposed in 2017. The additional fees will be used to help meet state and federal water quality standards by hiring more staff to conduct inspections and analysis of drinking water supplies more frequently.

According to a letter sent to Seven Fields Borough Manager Tom Smith from the DEP explaining the increase, the annual fee is based on the number of customers a public water system has.

This is an excerpt — pick up Sunday's Butler Eagle to read the full article and find out what the increase will be for various townships and municipalities.