Why do owners of vacant property still have to pay a water and sewer fee?

Vacant property in Albany is charged a per-foot rate for access to water and sewer service. Even though the property may not be currently connected to the water system, water and sewer pipelines still run along the vacant property, and still require maintenance by the Albany Water Department.

Shared Community Resource

The Albany Water Department maintains water and sewer infrastructure throughout the City, which is considered a shared community resource. Albany Water Customer’s water and sewer bills pay for needed system improvements, as well as daily operation and maintenance. As a vacant property owner, you have the availability to access the water and sewer system, and therefore have an annual fee associated with that access. In addition, the city has a combined sewer system where both sanitary wastewater and stormwater are collected and treated before discharged to the Hudson River. Precipitation and runoff from the vacant property enters the combined sewer system and there is a cost to collect, transport and treat this flow as well.


A vacant lot is charged on a front footage basis per year for water, and the same amount for sewer. More information about rates and the current rate structure can be found on our Water and Sewer Rates page. If an owner of a vacant property also owns an adjacent property with a water meter, the two properties can be combined to eliminate the water and sewer fee for the vacant property. A water and sewer bill for a vacant property may also be eliminated if the vacant property meets the criteria outlined in the Albany Water Board Policy for Suspension of Billing.

City’s Assessment office.

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1. Where does my drinking water come from?
2. Who owns the water service leading to my house?
3. My water bill is higher than expected. What should I do?
4. Can I pay my bill online?
5. What is the oldest water main in the City?
6. Why do owners of vacant property still have to pay a water and sewer fee?
7. Is it true that the Albany Water Department is checking every water main in the City?
8. Why must we pay sewer charges as well as water charges?
9. My lawn was damaged during a water main break. Will you replace it?
10. Who repairs the sidewalks and driveways damaged during a water main break?
11. Why are there more water main breaks in the cold weather?
12. Can the public visit any of the Water Department facilities or reservoirs?
13. Many Capital District communities have water restrictions. How about Albany?
14. I have heard Albany water was judged the best in the State. Is that true?
15. Does the Albany Water Department protect the reservoirs and facilities from any potential threats?
16. Where does Six Mile Water Works get its name?
17. How do I know that water in my home is safe to drink?
18. Who should I contact if my water has a funny smell, taste, or appearance?
19. If my pressure is low, what do I do?
20. What are your hours?
21. I have lead pipes in my home, what do I do?