BELLEVILLE, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois American Water customers could potentially see their monthly water bills go up.

Thursday, company officials announced they filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to adjust water and wastewater base rates. They said they filed the request because of major investments in water system improvements.

If the new rates are approved, customers would see their monthly water service bills increase between $6 and $14 per month, while the average residential wastewater bill would increase between $7 and $17 per month.

Both rates would depend on the service area.

To clarify, rates are not changing for any customers at this time. If approved, officials said the new rates would not go into effect until early 2023, marking six years since the company’s last general rate change.

Officials cited more than $1.1 billion in completed or planned investments that began in 2018 and are slated to end by 2023. Specifically, the company cited $948 million in water system improvements and about $204 million in wastewater system improvements across the state.

Those investments include the replacement, lining, and installation of approximately 141 miles of aging water and wastewater pipelines. Upgraded water and wastewater treatment plants, storage tanks, wells, pumping stations, fire hydrants, meters, manholes, and more would also be included.

A list of infrastructure projects included in the rate request can be viewed below:

  • Ongoing replacement of lead service lines across the state.
  • Solar fields in Champaign and in Peoria.  The energy-saving photovoltaic (PV) fields, which convert light to usable energy, are the largest of their kind within American Water’s footprint, nationwide.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection installed at several water treatment plants including Alton, East St. Louis, Granite City and Streator. The new treatment technology supports safe drinking water to residents and businesses.
  • A new South Water Treatment Plant in the Lincoln service area to support continued, reliable service.
  • New Chemical Feed Systems in Champaign, Alton, East St. Louis, Streator, Peoria and Jerseyville.  The improvements support continued and reliable service and allows for the safe and secure handling of chemicals.
  • More than six miles of sanitary sewer main installation in Alton to address requirements set forth by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to remedy combined sewer overflows.
  • Upgrades to the Chickasaw Water Reclamation Facility in Homer Glen to support continued, reliable service, and meet enhanced regulatory requirements.
  • A new high service pump station at the Sterling water treatment plant and a new, larger elevated water tank on the north side of town.
  • Ten water storage tanks to serve the communities of Sterling, Streator, Pontiac, Peoria, Sidney, Lincoln, Arbury Hills, Hardin County, Granite City and East St. Louis.

“We carefully plan and invest in our water and wastewater systems to provide safe and reliable service to nearly 1.3 million Illinoisians in 146 communities across the state,” said Justin Ladner, Illinois American Water President. “These investments are key to providing outstanding service and reliability, both now and in the future.”

Ladner said although costs continue to go up, the company’s operating and maintenance costs per customer have stayed “virtually unchanged” since 2012. 

The final decision regarding the requested rate change is up to the ICC.