Mayor's Office Press Release
Houston City Council Approves Water and Wastewater Rate Increases
June 23, 2021 -- Today, Houston City Council approved a water and wastewater rate increase for Houston water customers to help improve infrastructure and meet federally required guidelines to address sanitary sewer overflows. The measure passed 12-4 and will become effective on September 1.
"Our water and wastewater system needs to be reliable, dependable and of good quality," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "I thank City Council for passing today's measure and recognizing that water is an essential and critical infrastructure that must be addressed and improved. The importance of a resilient water and wastewater system became clear after Hurricane Harvey, Winter Storm Uri, and COVID-19. Having adequate and sound infrastructure will take us one step closer to building a more resilient Houston."
The water and wastewater rates will increase every year over the next five years and include the cost of making the first five years of investments agreed upon in the Consent Decree agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the EPA. Because of the agreement, Houston is required to resolve sanitary sewer overflows and other wastewater violations by paying fines and making improvements to the wastewater system over the next 15 years.
Problems with Houston's wastewater system began before Mayor Turner was elected. During negotiations with the EPA, the administration took a Houston-specific approach based on the city’s documented problems.
Houston's wastewater system is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation, with approximately 6,000 miles of wastewater pipes, 382 lift stations to move waste due to Houston's flat topography, and 39 wastewater treatment plants.