Certified Water Operators
Tel: (607) 562–8443 x211
Fax: (607) 562–7063
Monday through Friday
8:00am to 4:00pm
The Big Flats Water Department is part of the Department of Public Works. There are four full-time employees that are on call 24 hours a day.
The primary responsibilities of the Water Department are:
- Ensure quality and quantity of water meets the needs of the public
- Maintenance and upkeep of the Towns water lines, pumps, and tanks.
- Repair, replace and install water meters, touchpads and curb boxes.
- Inspect new service connections.
- Mark out water lines to allow safe digging.
- Read meters.
- Bill customers on a monthly or quarterly basis.
If you are going to dig on your property please call 1–800–962–7962 to have utilities marked out. For more information go to www.digsafelynewyork.com
Special District Capital Charges
Every year we send letters to property owners within the Water Districts regarding the Capital Charge amount that will appear on their annual County/Town tax bill.
You will find some frequently asked questions below. If you still need help understanding the procedure please give us a call at the office. We’ll be glad to help you.
What are Capital Charges?
Capital Charges are your share of the annual debt payment for your Water District. These charges appear as a line item on your County/Town tax bill. Three of our Water Districts carry debt that is repaid over time by annual payments.
How are the Capital Charges calculated?
The annual debt payment for each District is divided by the total number of units in the district.
Who gets a Capital Charge?
The criteria used to identify properties for the Special District Assessment is listed in the Town of Big Flats Resolution 230–03 as follows:
Criteria used to determine property eligibility for debt responsibility:
· The property must be located within the metes and bounds of the District description.
· The property must have access to a Town water main. Access includes having a water main on either side of the road adjacent to the property.
· Vacant parcels are included.
Apartment and commercial buildings will be assessed one (1) unit per building. If more than one meter is present in building, assessment will be total number of meters.
Which Water Districts carry debt?
Water Districts 3 and 4 carry debt.
What is the debt for?
We also bonded for improvements for District 3 and 4. Districts 3 and 4 were privately owned and run before the Town took them over. Each needed major improvements to the infrastructure. District 3 also is paying debt on the installation of the Sing Sing Road loop.
Do I have to send you a check for the Capital Charge?
No. These charges appear as a line item on the tax bill and are included in your tax bill total.
When will the debt be retired for each Water District?
The bonds for the improvements to District 3 will be paid in 2020, however we just commenced paying on a 30-year BAN for the Sing Sing Road Loop project. And the bonds for improvements in District 4 will be paid in 2027.
Each year the Water Department’s Fee schedule is adopted by resolution during the Department’s organizational meeting.
Water customers are divided into four water districts:
The first digit of your account number identifies your district.
All residential customers are billed quarterly. Commercial customers are billed monthly or quarterly, based on consumption. Meters are normally read the first week of the month and bills are sent out on or around the 15th. Bills are due within 30 days.
For quarterly customers, the billing cycle is based on the water district of the property. The billing cycle for each of the four districts is:
DISTRICT 1: January, April, July, October
DISTRICT 2: February, May, August, November
DISTRICT 3: March, June, September, December
DISTRICT 4: January, April, July, October
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the responsibility of the homeowner in getting the water from the main to the house?
A The homeowner is responsible for the repair of any service leaks between the curb box in front of the house and the meter (see next Q&A). The Town will repair any leaks between the curb box and the water main and any leak in the water main itself.
A The shut-off valves on either side of the meter are the responsibility of the homeowner. The supply to the house will have to be turned off in order to allow the valve replacement. Please see the Main Shut-Off Valve section for more information.
A To prevent your service or the pipes within your home from freezing under very cold conditions, you can take a couple of simple precautions:
- If pipes are located against exterior walls, make sure they are exposed to the warmer air of the house. For example, if your kitchen sink is located against an outside wall of your house, open the cabinet doors to permit the circulation of warmer air around the pipes.
- Repair any broken windows that allow the cold air in, especially basement windows.
- Turn your heat down not off if you are leaving for any length of time.
A According to the EPA the average household size is 3.5 persons. The average usage per person per day in our Town is about 70 gallons. Our average billing period is 90 days:
3.5 persons x 70 gal *x 90 days = approx 22,000 gallons
*This is just a generalization. You can calculate your own average per person by dividing your usage by the number of days in the billing cycle and then by the number of people in your household.
A Many people are able to taste or smell extremely low concentrations of chlorine in water and may be able to detect the levels we try to maintain in our water system. We add chlorine to the water distribution system because of its effectiveness in killing germs. Disinfection with chlorine provides critical protection for drinking water consumers. Setting an open container of tap water in your refrigerator overnight will allow the chlorine to dissipate. This also saves water since you don’t have to run the faucet the water runs cold.
A We do not fluoridate our water supply at this time.
A The water in our system is considered very hard. The hardness is due to dissolved minerals — primarily calcium and magnesium — in the water. The dissolved minerals are not harmful to your health, but can leave water spots and make cleaning more difficult. Please see the Water Quality section for more information.
Main Shut-Off Valve
The shut-off valves on either side of the meter are the responsibility of the homeowner. Most customers seldom need to turn off the water at the meter however you are encouraged to exercise the valve(s) adjacent to the water meter at least 2 to 3 times a year to lessen the chance of the valve not functioning properly. When a valve is not used for years, it can get stuck or break off when trying to open or close it. When this happens you will have to call us to turn off the water at the curb box (normally located near the street). This may cause a delay depending on the time of day, while water continues to leak. On occasion our crew may find that the curb box is filled with sediment. This causes even more of a delay because it has to be cleaned out or possibly dug up. Being proactive and exercising the valve could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
The touchpad located outside allows us to read your meter without having to gain access to the meter itself. These touchpads should be easily accessible to our meter readers. If they are not this may result in an estimated (high) reading. If these need to be moved because of construction, dogs, fencing or landscaping, please call our office, 562–8443, ext 211. We will set up an appointment to have them relocated.
The fire hydrants serve an important function in our town. There are over 350 hydrants on our water system. Many of these hydrants may sit unused for years and then be immediately called to action to put out a fire. It is important for our residents, adults and children, to realize that hydrants should not be tampered with. Turning them on wastes water, lowers the pressure of the water within the area, and makes fighting fires more difficult. If the hydrant nearest the fire isn’t working, firefighters will have to spend precious time finding another hydrant that is working.
If you need to use a hydrant contact the Water Department to apply for permission. Approval is dependent on the location of the nearest hydrant, distance between hydrant and pool, customers account standing and meter availability. We do not allow fire hoses to cross streets so if the hydrant is on the opposite side of the street you will have to make other arrangements. There is a fee involved as well as the charge for actual usage.
If you see someone using a fire hydrant please call the Water Department. We will determine whether it is authorized use or unauthorized use. After applying for the permit, contractors should use the hydrant at Town Hall. They should not be using other hydrants unless specifically authorized by the Water Supervisor.
Water Conservation Tips
Follow these tips to save money and the environment!
- Water your lawn only when needed. Test the grass by walking across it, if footprints remain, your lawn requires watering.
- Avoid watering in the middle of the day because 40%−50% of your irrigation water can be lost to evaporation. Watering your lawn before 8am or after 6pm is best because it reduces evaporation. In certain areas, fungus may develop due to watering in the evening.
- Avoid watering on windy days because this will redirect the water from its intended target and cause the water to evaporate faster.
- Adjust your sprinkler system to water only the lawn and not the street, sidewalk or house.
- Let your grass grow to a length of 2–3 inches. Longer blades encourage deeper rooting, provide better shade for the roots and allow for more water retention.
- Avoid washing down your driveway, patio or sidewalks with a hose. Hosing down an average sized driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water. Try using a garage push broom instead.
- Use shut-off nozzles on hoses. Always shut off hoses when they are not in use, a running hose can release 3–5 gallons of water per minute.
- When washing your car use a hose with a shut-off nozzle for initial and final rinsing and a bucket of soapy water for scrubbing. Water with dish soap is good for grass so consider washing your car over the lawn.
- If you occasionally use the sprinkler or hose to cool down in the summer, limit the flow and select a dry area of the lawn to have fun while spot watering at the same time.
- Collect rainwater and use it to water your plants
- Fill a pitcher of water and keep it in the refrigerator for cold drinking water instead of running the faucet until the water gets cold. A running faucet can waste 3–5 gallons of water per minute.
- When cleaning vegetables soak them first in a basin of water rather than rinsing them under a running faucet. A shallow basin of water can remove dirt and grit better than a spray of water. The water used for cleaning can be reused for plants.
- Run your dishwasher only when it is full. If you have a small amount of dishes, hand wash them. When hand washing dishes don’t let the water run continuously.
- Consider installing low-flow faucet aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets. The aerator can be screwed into your existing faucet and can reduce flow from up to 7 gpm to 1.5 gpm while maintaining a good flow of water.
- Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth, etc.
- Take shorter showers and/or install a low-flow showerhead.
- Fix leaky faucets and toilets. A slow drip can waste 15 – 20 gallons per day. A larger leak or running toilet can waste up to 100 gallons per day. Check your toilet for a leak by placing 10 drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet and waiting 15 minutes without flushing. If color appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Be sure to flush as soon as your test is done because the food coloring may stain the bowl.
- The Antarctic ice cap contains about 70% of the planet’s fresh water and about 90% of its ice.
- Water is the most vital nutrient to all living things, animal or vegetable.
- The human body is 2/3 water. Our bones contain 33% water, our brain cells are composed of 75% water, our skin is about 70% water, and even our blood is almost all water.
- Although you could go as long as 4 to 5 weeks without food, you could not survive without water for longer than 5 to 7 days.
- Unlike most other bodily functions, the absorption of water requires no energy.
- All porcupines float in water.
- The speed of a typical raindrop is 7 mph.
- Hot water is heavier than cold water.
- The planet Saturn has a density lower than water. If there were a bathtub large enough to hold it, Saturn would float.
- Ground water is the principal reserve of freshwater in the U.S.
Water Quality Report
Due to the development of increasingly more sensitive scientific instruments, it is possible to measure water characteristics in precise and minute quantities that previously went undetected. The Water Quality Report shows measurements in parts per million, which is equivalent to milligrams per liter, and parts per billion, which is the same as micrograms per liter.
To put these measurements into perspective, consider that one part per million, in time, would be one second out of 11 1/2 days. One part per billion translates into just one second in nearly 33 years!