NEW PORT RICHEY — City Council members voted unanimously in approval of a draft concerning a decades-long wastewater treatment agreement with Pasco County.

According to City Manager Debbie Manns, the city has been given cause to amend that agreement again as a result of Pasco entering an agreement to purchase the Lindrick Water System. The city has been operating the wastewater treatment plant since 1963 but didn’t enter into an interlocal agreement with Pasco County until 1984.

Public Works Director Robert Rivera worked on redrafting the full agreement.

Rivera stated that ownership remained the same between city and county at 60/40. The city’s numbers went from 4.5 million of capacity to 3.8 million, whereas the county’s number went from 3 million to 3.7 million.

Also in the new agreement is language that states if either the city or the county felt that the charges for treating fluid was either insufficient or inflated, the city could call for a consultant to go review and verify if it was inflated, Rivera said. He added that both parties would agree to share in that cost of that study.

The capital cost for equipment had been at $500 since 1984, Rivera stated, and the city was able to increase that amount to $5,000.

A concern of New Port Richey was that the system had historical excesses in the chloride limit, or saltwater intrusion in the system. Rivera said the county acknowledged that and will develop a plan and commit to doing 25% of the work over a three-year period.

“We also were able to get the county to acknowledge the septic-to-sewer programs in all the neighborhoods that are in the county that are in need of that switch-over,” Rivera added. “We will continue working on the details of that once we finish this interlocal agreement.”

Rivera said the methodology for the rate charges to the city’s customers that are located within the county was antiquated, and that it needed to be updated to be easier to understand.