_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES _______________________


Pico Rivera Looks to Increase Water Rates


BY BRIAN HEWS • April 30, 2021

The Pico Rivera City Council, at its June 22 meeting, will consider raising water rates for all customers of the Pico Rivera Water Authority (PRWA) by 10% a year until 2025.

The City Council took its first step in the rate increase process, adopting a resolution at last Wednesday’s meeting.

If approved, the move will raise nearly $927,000 the first year, reach $5.7 million in year five, for a five-year cumulative total of nearly $16 million.

The additional revenue will provide for operational expenses and capital improvement projects including the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment projects, according to city officials, with the money Pico Rivera will be one of the first cities in L.A. County to complete the removal project.

The move will also fund improvements to the north side water system, piping upgrades, new storage tanks and well improvements.

According to the city, “the future rates are designed to establish fiscal stability, maintain required debt revenue requirements and fund necessary improvements.

The PRWA serves nearly 9,000 residential meters and 439 commercial meters and has an extensive and complex water system including eight active groundwater wells, eight booster pumps, three storage tanks, and approximately 98 miles of distribution pipes.

In December of 2019, the city contracted with IMEG Corp. to prepare a master plan update. IMEG developed a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as part of the master plan.

IMEG identified that a staggering $117 million was needed for capital improvements.

In addition, the plan found that nearly $38 million in critical projects must be implemented over the next five years to increase reliability, provide backup, and address deficient infrastructure.

Projects included $14 million towards the PFAS Treatment System, $16.5 million in infrastructure replacement or repairs, and $6.6 million towards new storage tanks.

Staff concluded that without the increases, the current water revenue is not sufficient to fund projects under the current rate structure and that the incremental increases will adequately fund necessary projects.

The city must comply with Prop. 218 in order to raise rates and must take specific steps including proper notification.

The increase must be distributed to all affected customers a minimum of 45-days prior to the public hearing. The property owners have the right to submit written protests, with said protests submitted to the City Clerk no later than the conclusion of the public hearing June 22.

If 50 percent plus one written protests are received, or 4,718, the city cannot implement the proposed water rates.

After the resolution approval on April 27, next is the distribution of the increase notices starting April 30, finally holding the June 22 public hearing.

If the protest letters do not reach 50 percent plus one, the first rate increase will become effective July 1, 2022.

Projects included in the first five years include $14 million towards a PFAS Treatment System, $13 million for Altitude Valves and Piping Upgrades, $6.6 million towards New Storage Tanks and $3.5 million towards the AMR Meter Replacement.

The city sent a statement to HMG-CN, “Although it is never an opportune time to increase water rates, the City of Pico Rivera is addressing the need for improving the quality of water for our residents by moving forward on approving an increase in water rates to raise $15.9  million over the next five years to pay for essential projects that must be implemented to improve the city’s water system reliability, address PFAS, provide an emergency backup water supply and address deficient infrastructure. Current water revenue is not sufficient to fund these projects under the existing water rate structure.  The proposed water rates will provide adequate funding to implement these projects.”

[email protected]


PFAS Still a Concern in Pico Rivera’s Water