DEP Begins Enforcement Push Against Delinquent Water Accounts

Image Credit: DEP.

On February 13, 2024, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced new enforcement efforts to collect a total of $124 million owed by chronically delinquent water service accounts. The agency categorizes approximately 2,900 accounts as chronically delinquent. Previously, the agency ran a temporary amnesty program that allowed New Yorkers to pay off their water bill debts without interest and in addition granted $8 million in billing credits to low-income accounts. This saved chronically delinquent accounts around $22 million in interest on their water bills.

Starting last month, those who did not take advantage of these promotions to pay off their outstanding debt began to receive water shut-off warning letters from DEP. These letters outline that their water will be shut off in March if the bill is not paid by February 19, 2024. These properties will have a ‘Water Shut Off Notice’ posted on the front door of their property and the street in front of the property will be marked to indicate the shut-off location. To avoid this, delinquent accounts must be paid in full or enter into a payment agreement. If a property’s water service is terminated there will be a $1,000 shut-off fee and their past due account balance must be paid with a minimum 25 percent down payment to have the water service restored.

Money received through these enforcement actions will be used to keep water rates low for all customers and pay for repairs needed. These repairs will include maintenance and upgrades to 15,000 miles of water and sewer mains, 19 reservoirs, 12,000 rain gardens, and 14 wastewater resource recovery facilities. Delinquent accounts doubled during the pandemic reaching almost $1.2 billion in overdue accounts. The past promotions offered by DEP have been part of their mission to help low-income customers.

Customers can make payments or enter into a payment agreement online at, by calling 1-866-622-8292, in person at a borough office, or by mail to the NYC Water Board. Convenience fees apply to credit/debit card payments, but no fee is charged by the Water Board if payment is made by checking or savings account. DEP also offers a number of financial assistance programs to assist property owners in paying their water bills, including a leak forgiveness program and multi-family water assistance program.

DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala said, “During the pandemic the total of past due accounts nearly doubled, to over $1 billion. To help customers bring their accounts current we initiated a successful amnesty program that reduced interest payments and we also provided credits to low-income accounts. The delinquent customers who refused our help are forcing everyone else to pay higher rates, and that must stop. Everyone has to pay their fair share to support our indispensable water system.”

By: Meg Beauregard (Meg is the CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).

New York City Department of Environmental Protection: “NYC Department of Environmental Protection Expands Enforcement Actions Against Delinquent Water Service Accounts” (Feb. 13, 2024).


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