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January 13, 2010


Michael Saucier/Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

DEP Begins Enforcement of New Denial of Access Charges

Customers Who Repeatedly Fail to Allow Inspectors To Access Meter Face $250 Fee

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that it has begun enforcing a new regulation that allows it to impose a fee of $250 and a special rate on customers who repeatedly fail to provide access to their property to perform water meter inspections. Ratepayers who refuse access could see their water rates quadrupled. Inspectors need access to meters to get accurate readings of water consumption, which allows DEP to issue accurate bills to the City's 834,000 ratepayers. Water and sewer revenues fund the day-to-day operation of the City's water and sewer system and the capital investments — like Water Tunnel 3 and the construction of the Croton Water Filtration Plant — necessary to continue delivering the nation's best water to 9 million New Yorkers every day.

"While the vast majority of DEP customers allow access to their water meters, some ignore this important obligation," Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway said. "This new enforcement tool will help ensure that all New Yorkers pay their fair share to supply and distribute the best drinking water in the country, and to treat the 1.2 billion gallons of wastewater that the City produces every day."

DEP requires access to inspect, test, upgrade, repair or replace meters or remote meter reading devices that may be malfunctioning. The new regulation raises the Denial of Access fee to $250 from $50 and, if access continues to be denied, DEP can impose a flat rate based on anticipated water consumption. In some cases, this could mean the water and sewer rate would quadruple for customers who fail to give access to inspectors.

The change in the Denial of Access regulation is part of DEP's goal to ensure that the new regulation will also help inspectors gain access to homes in DEP's citywide installation of automated water meter reading (AMR) technology, which will end the use of estimated water bills, giving homeowners and small businesses more accurate and timely records of usage.

DEP manages the City's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the City, and is comprised of 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. 6,600 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-City treatment plants.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600