FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE10-28
March 22, 2010
Michael Saucier/Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600
DEP Sends Notices for Service Terminations to Homeowners
Most Delinquent Water and Sewer Account Holders Pay Before Enforcement Action is Taken
Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway announced that DEP today sent 18,545 notices to single-family homeowners for overdue water and sewer bills. This is the first of a series of notifications to homeowners owing $500 or more for six months or longer in an effort to prevent water service terminations. Homeowners who do not promptly enter a payment plan with DEP or qualify for a Safety Net program will be scheduled to have their water and sewer services terminated starting April 7 and continuing through the fall on a rolling basis. The 18,545 customers with outstanding water bills owe a total of $58.4 million.
"Most New Yorkers pay their water bills, but those who don't pay their fair share increase the costs for everyone else," said Commissioner Holloway. "The overwhelming majority of people who receive the notices we are sending today pay up, enter a payment plan, or are eligible for some form of assistance, but some people think they can get away without paying. They are mistaken. Property owners who refuse to pay risk having their water shut off, which will only add to the cost of their water bill. I strongly encourage anyone who receives one of these notices to get in touch with DEP right away to resolve their outstanding bill."
Last year, 18,563 customers who owed a total of $53 million received initial service termination notices and DEP terminated the service of 65 customers. The remaining customers who received 15-day service termination notices paid in full, entered a payment agreement, or were referred to the Safety Net Program, which offers financial assistance options.
Last week, Commissioner Holloway announced the expansion
of the Water Debt Assistance Program to assist homeowners at risk of foreclosure
of past-due water and sewer debt. Under the expanded program, owners of
single-family homes who are at risk of foreclosure and who would be eligible for
service termination because of past-due water and sewer debt can apply to have
their water and sewer debt deferred. Homeowners interested in the program can
learn more about the program by calling 311 or visiting Water
Debt Assistance Program. Customers can pay their bills by check, credit card and Electronic Funds Transfer or make scheduled payments by using direct debit, which can be drawn from a checking account, savings account, or credit card.
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 four upstate counties. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes.