OGDEN -- Aging water and sewer infrastructure and a need to replace it might mean higher rates for Ogden residents.
The city council held a fact-finding work session Tuesday night to discuss the water and sewer utility rate study that has been under way for the past several months.
Jay Lowder, Ogden's public services director, and Justin Anderson, an Ogden city engineer, said several capital improvement projects are needed over the next few years.
Anderson said 51 percent of the city's pipe system was installed more than 50 years ago, and much of it needs to be replaced.
"We start experiencing failure in these pipes at 40 or 50 years," he said.
A large pipe that runs down Ogden Canyon was installed nearly 100 years ago, Anderson said.
The city also has issues with storm drain and sanitary sewer capacity and aging treatment plants.
But some Ogden residents are concerned about the possibility of higher rates.
Under one scenario previously presented to the council by Cody Deeter of Lewis, Young, Robertson & Burningham, the city's consultant on the study, water rates could increase by as much as 45 percent over the next 10 years and 22 percent in the next three years, to pay for bonds issued to fund the needed water and sewer infrastructure projects.
Ogden city policy analyst Glenn Symes said those numbers are still very preliminary and aren't considered recommendations for the council.
According to a recently completed survey by the city, 53 percent of the survey participants already believe the city's current water and sewer rates are very unfair.
The survey also indicates nearly 23 percent of the survey respondents believe rates need to be lowered or equalized for those without access to secondary water.
Of about 25,000 city water customers, about 13,000 don't have secondary water and rely on culinary water for both indoor and outdoor use.
Several Ogden residents spoke at the work session, addressing concerns ranging from the disparity between secondary and culinary water users to the lower rates in nearby cities.
Another work session on the water rates will be held at 6 p.m. March 21 at the Ogden City Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.
At the town hall meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. April 5 at the municipal building, the consultants will present a rates proposal to the council.
The public will have the opportunity at the meeting to comment on the proposal, and an online survey will be opened to allow further input.
Finally, the council is scheduled to hold the public hearing for the rates ordinance on April 24.
The ordinance presented at the April 24 meeting would include any amendments the council feels are appropriate based on public feedback.
If the rates ordinance is approved by the council, new rates would become effective June 1.
In 2008, the city issued approximately $50 million in bonds for capital projects identified through a 2007 utility rates study.