Water and Sewer Service Line Protection Program has Saved New York City Homeowners More Than $20 Million in Unexpected Repair Costs
One in Four Eligible Homeowners is Now Enrolled; Repairs Help Put Local Plumbers to Work
Photos of a New York City Service Line Repair Can be Viewed on DEP's Flickr page
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd and American Water Resources President Malcolm Conner announced that one out of every four eligible homeowners in New York City has 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 $20 million in repair charges—including emergency repairs that occurred during last year's harsh winter—that would have otherwise been paid out of pocket.
"The winter months will bring freezing temperatures to New York City, which makes pipes more susceptible to breaks and leaks," said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. "The Service Line Protection Program is an optional and affordable way for homeowners to shield themselves from the possibility of thousands of dollars in unexpected repair costs."
"In addition to saving enrolled homeowners more than $20 million in unexpected repair costs to date, we employ local plumbing contractors to serve our customers, so the money we spend on these repairs stays in the local business community," said American Water Resources President Malcolm Conner. "We are proud of the service we are offering to New York City homeowners, consistently achieving our four-hour response time for emergencies and our customer satisfaction ratings are above 95 percent."
Monica West, a Queens homeowner who recently had a service line emergency claim with American Water Resources said, "I was very impressed with the service that I received when I had a sewer problem in August. The plumber they sent came within a very reasonable time period, he assessed the problem quickly, and my broken sewer pipe was fixed in three days. I highly recommend having this program."
"This program not only helps homeowners save money, something we all want to do, it also offers them protection and peace of mind in the event of an emergency," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I thank the Department of Environmental Protection and American Water Resources for partnering on this cost-effective, innovative program, and I urge Bronx homeowners who have not yet signed up for this program to give it strong consideration. Your wallet will thank you."
"Brooklynites do not want to see their hard-earned dollars go 'down the drain,' spending cash on emergency repairs to their water and sewer lines," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "The partnership between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and American Water Resources has produced a common-sense approach that is saving homeowners money and time, and I encourage any and all who have not explored this program to see if it may work for them."
"Last year thousands of unprepared homeowners faced the unexpected costs of repairing a sewer or water line," said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. "With the winter season quickly approaching, these pipes are even more susceptible to damage. The Department of Environmental Protection's Service Line Protection Program successfully shields homeowners from costs that can reach up to $15,000 and creates a much more transparent process for repairs. I commend DEP's effort to safeguard New Yorkers and protect one of our city's most precious resources- water."
Property owners in New York City are responsible for maintaining their water and sewer service lines, which are buried 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 more than 3,970 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 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, American Water Resources fully manages the Service Line Protection Program, which 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. American Water Resources will also be mailing information to eligible homeowners in November. For information about becoming a member of American Water Resources contractor network, visit AWRUSA.com/contractors or call 1-877-320-4615.
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.
In addition to managing the Service Line Protection program for New York City, American Water Resources also provides Water Line Protection, Sewer Line Protection, and In-Home Plumbing Emergency Programs to homeowners in 43 states and Washington, D.C. American Water Resources currently services more than 1.4 million contracts. A subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, American Water Resources has been providing service line programs to homeowners for more than 14 years and is a Better Business Bureau accredited business with an A+ rating.
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.