Sewer rates on the rise in East County

Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 00:37:49-04

If you live in east county you could start paying more for your sewage bill. It's all because a major project to get us more water is ahead of schedule.

Dave Burnett's family has run The Plant House in El Cajon for more than 60 years. He says his customers recently had a change in taste.

"Everyone wants the low-water type plants," said Burnett. "The sages, all the different succulents."

They're all looking for landscapes that don't take much to maintain. 

"We've just gotten used to it, I guess," said Burnett. "The high rates, a lot of people do come in and say 'where are your succulents?' This is what they're looking for. Things that don't take much water."

For his nursery, it means changing inventory. 

"That's pretty much how we stay in business, trying to give the public what they want."

With rates on the rise the trend of low-water plants will stick around. 

A lot of people are on fixed incomes and they just can't keep paying more for more water.

The city's Pure Water project is getting started ahead of schedule. The rate increase would offset the costs of early construction. 

"It's pretty tough to stay in business when you're paying that kind of water prices."

The rate hikes would affect east county cities including Alpine, Campo, La Mesa, El Cajon and Lemon Grove. 

"If east county is having to pay the bulk of it I certainly am not in favor of that and I don't approve of it, but a small little businessman like me what can I do?"

So for Burnett and his customers it means cutting back. 

"Saving water, which is bottom line saving money."