During the past decade water and sewer charges have become a major cost concern for property owners throughout the city. Rates have increased steadily, and the movement toward universal metering has produced a redistribution of the cost burden among classes of users. Yet, few of those paying the bills have even a general understanding of the citys water quality policies or of the environmental considerations that could cause bills to escalate in the future.

Moreover, because customers pay for water and sewer services through fees and not taxes, the spending and pricing policies of the agencies involved are largely free of legislative oversight. Nor is the system regulated, as are many other utilities, by the state Public Service Commission or other entities. As a result, it is particularly important for the public to remain informed about the citys water and sewer pricing and the environmental policies which they fund.