If you live in New York City or its surrounding areas, you probably have a water meter installed at your residence or business. For the past number of years, it is actually required that your premises be metered. This government fact sheet from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection provides essential information about your water bill. It also provides information about the laws governing the metering process.
Below, we have taken some basic information from that sheet to explain the meter system. We will also explain who is responsible for taking care of the meters installed on your properties, and where to access additional information about your NYC water bill.
Who presides over your NYC water bill?
If you live in New York City, your water comes from a combination of 19 reservoirs. Your water supply also includes three controlled lakes, and a network of aqueducts. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the governing entity that provides water to New York City residents. It protects and maintains the sewers, water supply, water delivery, and wastewater treatment. It also oversees the disposal of products that come wastewater treatment plants.
Besides protecting and maintaining the systems listed above, the DEP reads the meters. If you would like to understand how to read your water meter, read this post: How Read Your Water Meter. The DEP charges and collects water and sewage user fees from NYC property owners. It also monitors and controls who connects to the NYC water and sewer systems.
Local Law 53 and the Universal Metering Law
Local Law 53 was passed in 1985 as part of a major effort to conserve water in New York City and its surroundings. It requires water meters to be present on every property. Local Law 53 also mandates that all new constructions, and renovated properties also have water meters. Prior to 1985 most properties in NYC were billed on frontage, which was the cause of the wasted and unwarranted use of water. Long gone are the days of water being considering a limitless resource.
Two years later, the “Universal Metering Law” was passed. This law requires that the DEP over a 10-year period install or cause the installation of every property in the city, again as a part of the city’s conservation effort.
The installment and care of meters
For most small properties in New York City, the DEP provides the initial installment, replacing and repairing of water meters as needed. In all instances, however, the property owner will be held responsible for installing a meter in all newly-constructed or renovated properties. This will be done at the owners at their own expense.
Property owners are responsible to protect their water meter
Regardless of who installs the meter, property owners must protect their water meter against freezing weather or negligence. If the meter is illegally removed, the city may hold property owners accountable for its replacement. Property owners are also responsible for making sure that their meters are not damaged by freezing weather or negligence.
Meter requirements for new buildings
According to the same Local Law 53 of 1985 described above, any new construction requires a water meter. This is regardless as to whether the building is residential, commercial or of mixed use. The property will be billed based upon metered consumption from the point that construction of the building started. Also, any new commercial space or any new space that contains a commercial or retail entity such as an office or business requires a water meter. This strict requirement of metering helps alleviate waste and irresponsible use of water.
At Joseph L. Balkan Sewer and Water Main Specialists, we specialize in providing professional, superior-quality water line and sewer services. If you have any questions on the metering requirements in the NYC area, how to read your NYC water bill, or how to reduce your NYC water bill, please contact Balkan Plumbing today.