Nova Scotia

Proposed water hike means big bills for businesses

Proposed increases in water and wastewater charges in Halifax would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in increases for some businesses and organizations that use a lot of water.

Some businesses would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year

If the UARB approves Halifax Water's request, it would cost businesses like Oland Brewery hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. (CBC)

Proposed increases in water and wastewater charges in Halifax would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in increases for some businesses and organizations that use a lot of water.

If the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approves the increase, it would add about $190 per year to the average bill.

The first proposed increase is set to take effect in July 1 and the second would take effect Apr. 1, 2014.

But for businesses like the Oland Brewery in Halifax, and increase in the cost of water rates would add up to much more.

Wade Keller, a spokesperson for the brewery, said an 11 to 16 per cent increase in water rates combined with new wastewater charges would cost Oland hundreds of thousands per year.  

"Some of it goes into bottles and the rest of it goes down the drain and so we're facing some challenges with a potential increase in how much we pay for putting that water down the drain," said Keller.    

"We're looking at an increase, we're thinking it'll be about $100,000 a year for the water rate increase and then the wastewater is an additional $400,000 on top of that."  

Keller said those costs will result in beer that's more expensive. He said that could hurt Halifax when it comes to securing national brewing contracts.

Capital Health is expected to take a $300-thousand dollar hit when water rates rise.  

The Town of Truro is also looking at a double-digit rate increase.  

Parking lot owners would also see a jump in their costs. When snow and rain water hits asphalt, it doesn't get absorbed into the earth; instead, it's diverted into the city's storm water system.   

Parking lot owners — no matter how big or small the lot — willl have to start paying. That includes residential driveways and larger lots.