NYC May Lessen Burden On Homeowners, Change Policy On Underground Water Leaks

State Sen. Avella Says He Will Encourage City Council To Change The Rules

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For generations, in New York City if there’s a water leak below ground, in front of your house, it’s been your responsibility to pay for the repair, even if it’s in the street.

But as CBS 2’s John Slattery reports, that policy may soon change.

Arthur Collazo recently had plumbing repairs, both in his basement, and out beyond his yard, under the street where his supply pipe meets the main.

“This is where the culprit was, right in the middle of the street,” the 65-year-old told Slattery.

The break, he said, happened Aug. 23, the day of the earthquake. The break was found to be just off the water main, in the supply line to Collazo’s house.

“It cost me three grand. Three grand. That’s money I don’t have,” Collazo said.

Another break occurred in the street in front of a home in Hollis, Queens. The homeowner had to lay out $3,600. It’s long been the policy, since the 1800s, that a break in the water line feeding your house is your responsibility. Here’s the regulation, according to the Rules for the City of New York:

“The property owner, and not the Department, is responsible for the maintenance of the service and distribution pipe and its associated fittings and equipment.”

But State Sen. Tony Avella said it’s not fair.

“The city has to accept responsibility for any break on city property. It’s a simple policy change,” Avella said.

Avella said the Department of Environmental Protection should change the policy, because he believes most of the breaks are due to traffic on city streets.

The DEP said rather than change the policy it is exploring a water service line protection plan, a sort of insurance policy. You pay a nominal monthly fee and if anything breaks, it’s fixed for free.

Avella said he will encourage the City Council to change the policy and may introduce legislation in Albany.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from John Slattery
  • midi-man

    Water is cheap sewer water is expensive. Look at your bill.

  • goblin

    What is everyone paying a water bill for?

  • Barre Flynn

    This sounds reasonable, but when you add up the cost to the city for repairing under their street, it will never happen. Can you imagine the expense to the city. I think that rational was you want city water you have to pay for the connection. That said, the city now charges for it’s water…. hmmm.

  • vacay67

    This is just a way to get insurance money and use it for something else. Yeah a nominal fee but when added up by the ten’s of thousands of homeowners it will equate to millions & also another way for them to pocket the money and squander it away. Plus each yr they will tell u they don’t have enough funds so it will constantly go up. Say NO!!! Buy your own insurance because it is available to all homeowners-if u want it. But should not be forced on us. Don’t tell me I have to buy it and pay for it!

    I already pay astronomical prices for water alone. I don’t want some bogus insurance just in case if something breaks. I’d rather take my chances. In the long run I’ll save money. Another way to push BS politics & or policies on already strapped homeowners. YOU want to give us a break fix it with the increased property taxes you raised on us & through the increase in the water rates Mayor Bloomberg okayed awhile back. I am sick of being told more more more with less less less. I don’t have it.

  • Meme Meyagi

    nyc has over 1 million mooslime terrorists living there, what is beoing done about it?

  • CN

    It’s like spitting into the wind. The city will just find a way to pass the cost back on to the homeowners in another way, such as by raising the water rates once again.


    nyc is sucker sucker sucker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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