Yes, it is correct. The average cost of water in Albany is lower than in any other Capital District community. And, we are striving to continue that record, while still providing the best tasting and purest water for our customers.
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You do. Under Albany City Code, the property owner owns and is responsible for maintaining the water service from the City-owned water main to the point of entry into the property. However, as a courtesy, under our current policies, the Water Department will repair that portion of your water service from the City main to (but not including) the curb box, the valve used to control water flow into your building.
The property owner is responsible for the remainder of the service line from the curb box to the point of entry into the building.
Sometimes. Depending upon time and available resources, and solely at the discretion of the Water Department, the Department may agree to make repairs, once a consent form has been properly executed between the property owner and the City. The property owner will be billed a flat rate depending on the size of the service.
We do. Our restoration crew will repair or replace sidewalks, driveways or streets damaged during a Water Department excavation. We will use only standard City of Albany restoration materials, however, which includes concrete, asphalt and red brick. Any special concrete, slate retaining walls, steps, custom landscaping or other structures within the City’s right-of-way or easement will be the responsibility of the property owner.
Yes, we will replace it, once. Our policy is that all lawn areas damaged during our excavations will be restored using standard City of Albany topsoil and seed. We cannot install sod or any other special landscape materials. It is important to remember that the property owner is responsible to water and maintain the lawn once the restoration is complete. The Water Department cannot return to replant the lawn if it has not been properly watered and maintained.
The first thing to do is to call the Water Department at 518-434-5300. We will check your computerized service history to see if there has been a change in your usage.
We also will be happy to send an inspector to your home to check for leaks or other problems that might be causing a high water bill. This is a free service. Although we cannot fix an internal plumbing problem, we can often identify the problem and advise you on what should be done.
55 miles of Albany’s 376 miles of water mains were installed in the mid-19th century. However, some of the mains may even be older, with some cast iron mains possibly installed in 1813. If true, Albany would have the oldest functioning cast iron pipe in the western hemisphere.
Incidentally, all of the water mains in the City originally were hollowed-out tree trunks, many installed in the 1700s. Although unlikely, there is a very remote, outside chance that somewhere beneath some of the oldest parts of our City, a functioning wooden water main remains.
There is a direct correlation between the number of breaks and the amount of snow cover. It seems that a good layer of snow cover actually helps to insulate underground water pipes and reduces damaging frost penetration into the soil. So, snow is not only good for the ski business, it’s good for the water business as well.
Sewer charges have been included on Albany water bills for the last two decades. We must charge for sewer use because all of the waste is treated by Albany County at its wastewater treatment plants. The county bills us for treating the waste, and we must recover this cost from property owners.
Back in the 1970s, it was determined that the fairest way to assess sewer charges was to base them on the amount of water used by our customers since most of our customers generate waste in their daily lives, and that waste ends up in our sewer system. Because we have a combined storm and sanitary sewer system, wastewater, whether it is from a household toilet or lawn sprinkler, will end up in the sewer system. The more effluent that goes through the county sewage treatment plants, the more the City is charged for processing that effluent.
Vacant property in Albany is charged a per-foot rate for access to water and sewer service. Even though the property may not be connected to the water system, water and sewer pipelines still run along the vacant property, and still require maintenance by the Albany Water Department.
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 $2.46 per front foot, 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 fee for a vacant property can also be eliminated if the vacant property is declared undevelopable by the City’s Assessment office.
Unfortunately, we cannot allow access to any reservoir or other Water Department facility by unauthorized individuals at any time.
The one and only time that Albany issued water restrictions for residents was during the great Northeast drought of 1965 to 1966, when the reservoir had dropped to 30% of capacity. Never before, or since, have restrictions been required in the City of Albany.
Although we have an abundant supply of pure and wholesome drinking water, we do not have a license to waste. We must all practice water conservation in order to preserve our precious resource. Call the Water Department at 518-434-5300 for ways you can conserve water and also lower your water bill.
Yes, it is. In 2003, Albany drinking water was judged the best tasting surface (reservoir) drinking water in New York State during competition at the New York State Fair.
Yes, it is. Most old cities-such as Albany-have hidden leaks in their aging underground pipes. Some municipalities hire firms, at a great expense, to check for leaks. Albany had a better idea. Using high-tech computerized leak detection equipment, purchased as part of Mayor Jennings’ efforts to modernize the Water Department, we are surveying every water main in the City to identify hidden leaks.
More than 25% of the City’s 670 streets have been checked, and 52 hidden leaks have been found and repaired.
The effect was immediate and far-reaching. After the attack, all Water Department facilities were locked down. The security guard force more than tripled, with round the clock coverage instituted at all installations.
Video surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and other high-tech security measures were put in place to ensure that your water supply is safe and secure. The Water Department works closely with the Albany Police Department, New York State Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation as well.
Rensselaer Lake, also known as Six Mile Water Works, is located on Fuller Road, six miles from downtown Albany. That’s as close as we can come to learning the source of its name.
Six Mile Water Works is under the jurisdiction of the Water Department and is being studied as a potential emergency water supply for the City. Six Mile Water Works was built by the City of Albany in 1851 for use as the City’s first public water supply reservoir. A dam was built where three streams united, covering 40 acres of Pine Barrens. The 200 million gallon reservoir supplied the City with water from 1851 until the mid-1920s. Water was conveyed via a five-foot underground brick conduit to the City’s Bleecker Reservoir, located where Bleecker Stadium now stands.
Remnants of the egg-shaped, four-mile long conduit remain intact today in various sections along its path. So, the next time you are driving along Manning Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Central Avenue, give a thought to the large conduit six feet below, which once provided this City with drinking water.