Big change in sewer rates brewing in Bend

Those who put more wastewater into system - like breweries - to pay more

New sewer rate hits local breweries hard

Soon, the more polluted water you produce in Bend, the more you're going to have to pay -- that is, if you're a business. Brewers are especially affected, as they could face some of the highest bills under the new plan. 

"It's a very significant financial impact at this point," Garret Wales from 10 Barrel Brewing said Friday.

That's because breweries produce a large amount of wastewater.

"You know, it's a lot of organic matter -- it's yeast and materials like that. It's not poison and acid and things like that," Wales said.

But breweries won't be the only business affected.

"Maybe some auto body shops, some restaurants, bakeries and our favorite -- the breweries," said Carolyn Eagan, the city of Bend's business advocate.

Auto shops will see lower increases, somewhere around $2 a month. Exact amounts are still being debated, however.

"Overall, the committee said, 'Include all the businesses, make sure the rate hike isn't so astronomical they can't afford them, and make it fair,'" Eagan said.

Right now, residents are paying for water treatment, even though they aren't doing most of the polluting. 

"The people who contribute to the wastewater should probably pay for those pollutants," Eagan said.

 Which 10 Barrel is happy to do.

"It is important that people know that breweries are paying their fair share," Wales said.

Plus, it might pay off for them in the end.

"The watershed is obviously critical to us," Wales said. "There isn't a brewer in town that doesn't care about what's going into the water and what's going out."

The proposal is scheduled to be presented to the city council later this month

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