The City of Brazil may have justification for considering raising its water rates.
After a second water main break, and subsequent boil order, occurred Christmas Day, Mayor Ann Bradshaw spoke with The Brazil Times about the need for increased rates.
"We have to adjust with the times," she said. "It is difficult to cover the cost of things today with the same rates we were charging in 1993."
Bradshaw elaborated by saying there is a definite need to not only replace water lines -- many of which are up to 50-years-old -- but to also replace the water tower.
"When the city had the tower checked three years ago, we were told it could spring a leak, and we have been financially unable to check it again since then," Bradshaw said. "The tower has been rusting for several years and it is creating a serious situation."
The Common Council of the City of Brazil has been reviewing a proposal for new rates on water consumption, which would increase the average water customer's rate approximately 87 percent. For outlying areas that purchase its water from the Brazil utility -- Carbon, Center Point, Harmony and Knightsville -- the rates could go up as much as 167 percent because the proposal includes dropping the seventh price tier, which those areas currently are utilizing.
Brazil City Water Superintendent Jake Raubuch said the break of a 4-inch water main, near the intersection of State Road 340 and Union Street, was probably going to happen sooner or later.
"It was a really old line," he said. "Chances are it was probably leaking a little bit prior to it breaking."
Raubuch added the line also had a good amount of corrosion, which could also be happening with other lines in the city.
"With the amount of corrosion present in that line, it was running more like a 3-inch line, which causes the pressure to rise," Raubuch told The Brazil Times. "Things like this present a pretty strong case for the potential water rate increases so we can repair and replace many of the older lines to help prevent this from happening as much in the future."
Typically, boil orders are in effect for at least two days after a break occurs while officials conduct tests to ensure the safety of the water. However, the Christmas holiday has slowed the process.
"The city and state boards of health were closed down because of Christmas," Raubuch said. "We did the first Bac-T test Sunday and will conduct the second Monday. Once we get those done, we will send them to the State Board of Health for their review."
Raubuch was confident the results would come back favorable and the boil order could be lifted as early as Tuesday afternoon.
"We've been looking at the chlorine levels since we got the tower back on Thursday, and everything good so far," he said.
"I'll be able to call the state Tuesday afternoon and I hope the results will come back satisfactory."
The current boil order affects all customers of the Brazil water utility.