Our rates are typically higher than most major western shore jurisdictions. This is generally due to 4 reasons:
Due to our flat topography and high water tables, we have a vacuum sewer collection system which is very mechanically and labor intensive. Your previous property probably relied on gravity collection. Due to our topography, we have to replace "free" gravity with electricity, which is not free. In addition, each property is serviced with a vacuum valve pit, which can malfunction. When they malfunction, not only your property, but all other adjacent properties have no sewer service since the vacuum in the sewer main is lost. As such, we are required to have technicians available around the clock to respond.
Our treated sewage is discharged into shellfish waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Therefore, our treatment requirements are very stringent, more stringent than even a bathing beach, which equates to higher expenses.
The 3rd reason has to do with water. The State of Maryland will not allow most of our water systems to draw from the first available aquifer, the Aquia Greensand. This is very good water which requires a minimum level of treatment. They are fearful that too much demand on this aquifer would occasion salt water to intrude from the Bay. We therefore have to rely on the next available aquifer, the Magothy, which is very high in iron. We have to remove 99% of the iron in order to meet the minimum Federal drinking water standards which is another costly expense. In addition, we have 8 water treatment facilities serving Kent Island alone which is very inefficient. It is our intention to consolidate these systems in the future to increase efficiency as resources and logistics become available.
Finally, we only have approximately 5,600 sewer and 3,000 water accounts. This is a small customer base in which to spread our expenses. Also the Sanitary District is a governmental enterprise fund which means we receive no tax money to help offset our operational costs. All of our funding is user-supported.