This week rate changes go into effect for Portland water and sewer customers.
The Water Bureau has weathered a storm of criticism for proposing rate increases. Council eventually approved a 7.6% hike. Ratepayer advocates have criticized the rate-setting process. Some say rate increases don't have much to do with what water service costs.
But Water Bureau Director David Shaff says the increases are directly tied to maintaining Portland's aging system, and meeting federal mandates.
"We got through a long process internally, working with citizens, the Public Utility Review Board, City Council. Now the argument has been, 'Should we be doing some of the projects we're doing?' The ones that are controversial are the ones we're being told by EPA we have to do," says Shaff.
Sewer rates are also climbing almost 5.5%. Portland garbage rates are increasing on a scale that favors households with smaller volumes of trash.