Honolulu to study how to pay for $5 billion sewer upgrades

HONOLULU (AP) - Honolulu will be hiring a consultant to study ways the city can pay for nearly $5 billion in upgrades to its sewage and wastewater treatment systems. The yearlong study will follow in the wake of a consent decree the city recently entered into with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The city has estimated the upgrades could require yearly 3% to 5% sewer fee increases for about 25 years. Possible alternatives include abandoning rates that can vary depending on usage in favor of a fix monthly sewer fee. There could also be rate relief for fixed and low-income customers.

The consultant is expected to be chosen next month, with the study getting under way in October.

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