DEP Announces Temporary Amnesty Program for Overdue Water Bills
On Jan. 30, Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala announced a temporary amnesty program for overdue water bills. Amnesty means forgiveness, and in this context, it means partial or complete interest forgiveness for qualified customers.
DEP supplies more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water and treats 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater for more than 9 million New Yorkers every day. The water system’s expenses—which include maintenance, repairs, and capital upgrades—are directly funded by revenue collected from water bills. DEP is facing a growing receivable balance of delinquent accounts, threatening the operations and capital needs of a service the city couldn’t survive without.
In a statement, Alfonso L. Carney Jr., chairman, NYC Water Board said, “Nearly one in four customers is behind on their water bill. This program gives those New Yorkers who fell behind during the pandemic a way to catch up and save money. The money collected from this program is critical to helping us pay for the vital operation and maintenance of the city’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as funding the critical investments and upgrades we need.”
The limited time program will forgive up to 100 percent of interest when customers pay a portion or all of their outstanding water bills. There are nearly 200,000 customers owing a combined $1.2 billion in water bill charges to DEP. This program intends to help New Yorkers both clear their debt and save money, while ensuring that the city can continue to invest in and maintain the city’s water infrastructure.
This limited one-time amnesty runs for only 90 days, until April 30, 2023, and allows you to have your accrued interest reduced or forgiven by paying your principal balance.
The amnesty freeze date is Jan. 29, 2023. This is the date on which all eligibility criteria is locked in place, including your total delinquent balance, principal balance, and interest balance. Any additional interest that accrues after this date won’t be eligible for amnesty.
For DEP customers with a seriously delinquent balance of more than $1,000 for over a year, DEP will offer three amnesty options:
- If 100 percent of the principal bill is paid, 100 percent of interest will be forgiven;
- If 50 percent of the principal bill is paid, 75 percent of interest will be forgiven; or
- If 25 percent of the principal bill is paid, 50 percent of interest will be forgiven.
DEP customers who owe less than $1,000 are still eligible to receive amnesty on 100 percent of their interest if they pay their total bill. All customers who participate in the water amnesty program and leave a remaining outstanding balance will be required to enter into a payment agreement with DEP.
There’s no formal application needed to apply for this program. You simply use DEP’s Amnesty Look Up Tool to confirm your eligibility, view your options, and make a payment before the program end date. The tool can be found at https://nyc.gov/dep/amnesty.
While there, you enter your account number in the Amnesty Look Up Tool. If eligible, you can pay the principal amount as indicated on your preferred option. A credit for the interest forgiveness will be applied to your account within 10 business days. DEP notes that your balance may not go down to zero if you receive new charges and interest. If you have any questions, you can call DEP during their extended business hours, Monday through Friday (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at (718) 595-7000, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.