BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

Montclair residents will see a new quarterly charge on their water bills beginning in July,  increasing water costs by between $25 and $62.25 a quarter for most households.

The new charges have been put in place to address the township’s aging water infrastructure and to continue to maintain water purity standards to be in compliance with New Jersey Water Quality Accountability Act of 2017, the township said in a notice to residents Tuesday.

Water rates, billed quarterly, have not increased since 2017, but bills could rise by 73% to 187% for most residential consumers since the Township Council voted through the new charge unanimously in April.

Padmaja Rao, the township’s chief financial officer, said at the council meeting that Montclair is dealing with an aging water delivery system dating to the 1890s and early 1900s, and that at least 90 miles of water service lines need replacing. 

Most residents whose water service lines are 1 inch in diameter or smaller currently pay $34 per quarter, according to township officials. This charge, which saw a $1 hike each year from 2015 to 2017, includes 7,480 gallons of water for the quarter. For each additional 748 gallons used, residents pay a rate of $3.74 during January, February, March, October, November and December. From April through September, the rate jumps to $4.49. 

Most single-family households have 5/8 inch x 3/4 inch water service lines, Township Manager Tim Stafford said.

The new charge breaks down service line sizes 1 inch or less into three new categories, each with its own increase:

  • Lines that are 5/8 inch x 3/4 inch will see a $25 increase.
  • Lines that are 3/4 inch will increase by $37.50.
  • Lines that are 1 inch will increase by $62.25.