First HRSD bills arrived in Surry

Published 11:16 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

SURRY—Some increased by a few dollars. Some more than doubled. Some still haven’t arrived.

Reactions to the first sewer bill from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in the town of Surry have been trickling in, and, so far, have been a mixed bag.

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After months of debate and negotiation, the town of Surry deeded over its wastewater systems to HRSD in October, bowing to pressure from the county and surrounding businesses.

For one resident of Church Street, the bill she received was for the past 45 days, and was only $6 more than her previous bills, which had been for 30 days. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“So that’s not bad,” she said, but also noted that it was still too early to say whether it would remain that way.

Residents have been receiving bills charging for sewer used in the past month and a half. Leila Rice, a spokesperson for HRSD, said that this is an anomaly, and that customers can expect bills charging for every 30 days from now on.

Kim Jones, who lives along Rolfe Highway, said her first bill from HRSD had just arrived, and cost a little under $100, about the same cost as two months of bills when Surry operated the sewer system.

 “I have no idea how it’s going to play out,” said Jones of HRSD managing the system, but added that the cost of her bill was unsurprising and that she could understand why Surry would need the aid of HRSD when it comes to managing its “wacky” sewer system.

Up on Oakwood Drive, Walt Reel said that his sewage bill has been a stable $50 for the past 20 years.

The town of Surry previously had charged a monthly $47 for a minimum 4,000 gallons used, and $3 for water.

His initial bill from HRSD was a mere $3 more than usual, lower than Reel had expected. Reel noted that he doesn’t use that much water at his residence compared to some of his neighbors, who have larger households.

Across the street, William Poarch was confronted with a much less encouraging bill notification from the new sewer provider. At $160, the charge was more than double what he had paid previously.

“I just got the thing in the mail and I was clueless as to what was going on,” he said of first receiving his bill from HRSD.

Poarch said he had always gone with the “bare minimum” cost for Surry sewage, which was 4,000 gallons per month, so he selected the same minimum option for HRSD.

However, HRSD’s minimum option is 3,000 gallons per month for $36.09, with an added charge of $12.03 per every additional 1,000 gallons used. HRSD’s flat rate option for a 30-day period is $48.12 in Surry.

“Boy, was I fooled,” Poarch said, who called his bill “ridiculous.”

Like many of her neighbors this month, Rolfe Highway resident Cynthia Erskine had not yet received a bill from HRSD for November.

Still, she’s optimistic about the new sewer provider, as a representative contacted her to say that she could save some money by selecting the bare minimum option, as she rarely used more than 3,000 gallons a month.

“I thought that was really nice,” she said, adding that it was a good start to her relationship with the provider.  {/mprestriction}