WYSOX TOWNSHIP - The Wysox Township Municipal Authority has set the water and sewer rates for the approximately 500 customers who will be using the authority's new $10 million water system, the chairman of the authority said.

Customers will pay a minimum monthly combined water and sewer bill of $24.98, which will cover the first 1,000 gallons of water used, said Fred Johnson, the operating superintendent of the Towanda Municipal Authority, which will supply the water for the Wysox Township Municipal Authority's water system.

For any water used above the first 1,000 gallons, customers will pay a water rate of $11.54 per 1,000 gallons of water used and a sewer rate of $13.44 per 1,000 gallons of water used, Johnson said.

A typical family using 4,000 gallons per month of water will pay a monthly combined water and sewer bill of $99.92, Johnson said.

The authority wanted to keep the water and sewer bill of a typical family within $100, he said.

Customers who use no water at all, such as people who spend the winter in Florida, will still have to pay the $24.98 minimum combined monthly water and sewer charge, Johnson said. That's because all customers will need to help pay off the debt of constructing the water system and the cost of operating the system, he said.

Sewer rates will be based on the number of gallons of water used, he said. It's assumed that the same number of gallons of water that come into a residence will go out of the home and have to be treated at the waste water treatment plant in Towanda, he said.

Water usage will be billed in increments of 1,000 gallons, he said.

At this time, the Wysox Township Municipal Authority is not planning to charge customers a tap-in fee to hook up to the water system, Casanave said. However, customers are responsible for paying for a lateral line from their meter pit to their home, he said.

The only customer that has been able to hook up to the water system so far the Fairfield Inn & Suites, said Bob Williams, chairman of the Wysox Township Municipal Authority. Fairfield had made an arrangement with the contractor to hook up to the system early, officials said.

All other customers will need to wait until after the Wysox Township Municipal Authority takes over ownership of the water system before they will be able to hook up to the system, Casanave said.

The contractor could notify the Wysox Township Municipal Authority "any day" now that the water system is substantially complete, meaning that the water system is functional, and that only cosmetic work remains to be done, such as paving work and re-seeding lawns, he said.

Stiffler & McGraw will then inspect the system, and if the system passes the inspection, Casanave will sign a certificate stating that the system is substantially complete.

At that point, the authority will take over the ownership of the system, Casanave said.

The authority will then decide when letters will go out notifying customers that they can hook up to the system, Casanave said.

The letter will tell the customer the deadline by which they must hook up to the system.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.