FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-47
May 27, 2014
Chris Gilbride / Ted Timbers (DEP) (718) 595-6600
Denise Venuti Free (AWR) (856) 309-4690
Public Inquiries: 1-888-300-3570 or AWRUSA.com/NYC
Department of Environmental Protection and American Water Resources Announce One in Five Eligible Homeowners in New York City Have Enrolled in Service Line Protection Program
The Service Line Protection Program Has Saved New York City Customers More Than $13 Million in Unexpected Water and Sewer Line Repair Costs
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd and American Water Resources President Malcolm Conner today announced that one out of every five eligible homeowners in New York City have enrolled in the water and sewer Service Line Protection Program that is being offered through an exclusive partnership between the City and American Water Resources. So far, the program has saved New York City homeowners more than $13 million in repair charges–including emergency repairs that occurred during the recent harsh winter–that would have otherwise been paid out of pocket.
“Many homeowners do not know they are responsible for the maintenance of their water and sewer service lines until they have a break and have to deal with an unexpected bill,” said DEP Commissioner Lloyd. “We have partnered with American Water Resources to offer a protection plan that offers easy enrollment, billing through our customers’ regular water bill, and has already helped thousands of New Yorkers who enrolled in the program. In less than eighteen months, the program has already saved DEP’s customers millions of dollars.”
“We are proud of the service we are offering to New York City homeowners, and we believe the program is proving its value, especially during the challenging winter, which resulted in an increased number of service line issues,” said American Water Resources President Conner. “In addition to saving enrolled homeowners more than $13 million in unexpected repair costs to date, we have been consistently achieving our four-hour response time for emergencies and our customer satisfaction ratings are above 95 percent. We have also recently expanded our contractor management staff and the number of contractors in our network to continue this level of service for our customers.”
“This program offers homeowners real protection from unexpected expenses, and I hope that more Bronx and city homeowners take advantage of the cost-saving opportunities it has to offer. I commend the Department of Environmental Protection, Commissioner Lloyd and American Water Resources for making this program widely available to the homeowners of this city,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“As a homeowner, I understand the challenges of unexpected repairs that are very costly,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I am excited to know that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has taken the initiative in offering our residents affordable options for unforeseen repairs to our water and sewer service lines. As a result of this program, DEP has helped homeowners across Brooklyn and the entire city save millions of dollars.”
"I would like to thank the Department of Environmental Protection and American Water Resources for their continuation of this necessary program," said the Chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection Donovan Richards. "The City will save homeowners thousands of dollars if they have an unexpected break in their water and sewer line, especially during harsh winter months. I'm proud to stand with DEP in their efforts to assist thousands of homeowners who will benefit from this program."
"The DEP and Commissioner Emily Lloyd should be applauded for providing rate payers with an affordable way to cover the unexpected costs of repairing a broken water or sewer main. The success of this program is not surprising. It is an easy and affordable way for homeowners to protect themselves from what can be very expensive and unexpected problems and I encourage all my constituents to participate in the program" said City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens).
Property owners in New York City are responsible for maintaining their water and sewer service lines which are buried underground and run from the building to the City-owned mains under the street. On average, it costs property owners in New York City between $3,000 and $5,000 to repair a water line break and between $10,000 and $15,000 to replace a sewer line break.
In 2013, DEP responded to nearly 3,900 reported water leaks, of which more than 80 percent were discovered to be private service line problems. To help property owners better manage these risks and the high costs of service line breaks, the New York City Water Board issued a Request for Proposals from qualified providers for a Service Line Protection Program in 2011. After a thorough review, American Water Resources (AWR) was awarded a contract as the exclusive provider of Service Line Protection for the approximately 670,000 eligible properties in New York City.
For the convenience of those who choose to participate and at no cost to the City, AWR fully manages the Service Line Protection Program - from providing unlimited protection for covered repairs and basic restoration of the affected property to establishing a network of local, licensed master plumbers. The Program also provides for an unlimited number of claims, a 24/7 Customer Service Center to handle repair requests, quick response time by NYC licensed master plumbers, and all the necessary permits. Customers do not have to submit claim forms or pay deductibles, and the monthly program fee is itemized and included on each participating customer’s regular DEP water and sewer bill.
Further information about the programs and the eligibility for individual properties is available online at AWRUSA.com/NYC or by calling 1-888-300-3570. AWR will also be mailing information to eligible homeowners at the end of May. For information about becoming a member of American Water Resources contractor network, visit AWRUSA.com/contractors or call 1-877-320-4615.
In addition to managing the Service Line Protection program for New York City, AWR also provides Water Line Protection, Sewer Line Protection, and In-Home Plumbing Emergency Programs to homeowners in 40 states and Washington, D.C. AWR currently services more than 1.3 million contracts. A subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, AWR has been providing service line programs to homeowners for more than 13 years and is a Better Business Bureau accredited business with an A+ rating.
Establishing a Service Line Protection Program is a key component of DEP’s Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to help make it the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation. DEP is the largest municipally owned water and wastewater utility in the United States.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.4 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in planned investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically-sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties.For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.