PORTAGE—After approving slight increases in water and sewer service rates starting July 1, the Portage City Council applauded the city’s move in 1997 to privatize its water and sewer services. The city contracted with Earth Tech, an international company that handles water management and environmental services.

“These cost savings have enabled the city to keep annual rate increases for water and sewer users to a minimum,” City Manager Michael Stampfler told the Portage Gazette. “It’s pretty obvious privatization has saved the city big time,” added Mayor Pro-Tem Ted Vliek, Sr. Councilman Peter Strazdas agreed: “The $30 a month you pay for water and sewer is less than the telephone bill, less than the cable TV bill. I commend the administration for keeping costs down.

Earth Tech Senior Vice President F. Keith Oldewurtel told MPR his company is in the midst of several important contract renewals in the state of Michigan, and that it had new water/wastewater treatment deals with the government of Alberta, Canada, the cities of New London, Conn., and Pawtucket, R.I.