SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Rates will soon increase for customers of Springfield Water and Sewer Commission.

As of July 1st customers will see a 6.5 % increase in their bills. The Springfield Water and Sewer Commission told 22News that the increase in rates is driven by needed improvements to the Commission’s infrastructure.

Spokesperson Jaimye Bartak said this is a much-needed project that will benefit their customers in the long run. “This is a $550 million capital improvement program that we’re embarking on over the next six years at really an accelerated schedule to upgrade treatment plants, pipes underground. We have a lot of aging infrastructure and that’s really what’s driving the rate increase.”

Although prices are increasing, the Commission will also increase its customer assistance program to help those struggling to pay their water and sewer bills. As of July 1st, the annual credit will increase from $125 to $250.

Rate increases are expected to become more modest once the program is completed.