A new study shows Long Beach residents shell out hundreds of dollars a year for water.
LONG BEACH, NY — A new, in-depth analysis shows just how much Long Beach residents really pay for water. The Citizens Campaign for the Environment unveiled its comprehensive study on Tuesday.
Long Beach provides water to its own residents and charges the fifth highest amount on Long Island at $765.78 per year, the study found. Here's the breakdown for Long Beach:
Estimated cost for first 1,000 gallons of water: $4.41
Billing cycle: Quarterly
Estimated cost per billing cycle: $190.71 (includes rates, taxes and service fees)
Estimated cost per year: $765.78 (includes rates, taxes and service fees)
Minimum charge: $52.44
$4.41 per 1,000 gallons for up to 12,000 gallons.
$4.72 per 1,000 gallons for 12,0001 - 150,000 gallons.
$4.79 per 1,000 gallons for 150,001 - 300,000 gallons.
$5.01 per 1,000 gallons for 300,001 - 600,000 gallons
$5.50 per 1,000 gallons for 600,001 and over.
Daily service charge:
$0.587 for 5/8 and 3/4 inch
$0.870 for 1 inch
While that may seem high, get this — New York American Water Service Area customers in the NorthShore-Sea Cliff area pay an estimated $1,124.52 a year, more than anywhere else on the island. Shelter Island Heights and service area 1 of the New York American Water Service Area rounded out the three most expensive districts.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director at the organization, told Patch on Wednesday they initially thought that determining the cost of water on Long Island would be easy — they would grab the water rates from the various districts and compare them.
"We found it easier to find the lost continent of Atlantis," she said.
Finding out what water districts charge is actually "obscure," "convoluted" and "cryptic," she told reporters on Tuesday. Some districts tack on fees separate from the actual water rates included in the bill, some have a yearly access fee, and still other have hidden fees that are separate from the water rates and are not included in the consumer bill, such as for infrastructure and water treatment.
New York American Water has a residential water service charge applied to every bill based on size of water meter. Those with a 5/8-inch water meter pay $12.50, while those with a 1-inch meter pay $17.74. Furthermore, rates for the district are based on various factors that "substantially fluctuate" depending on the community.
Esposito said it's a public right to know the price of water, and the major takeaway is that people don't know how much they pay.
"The bottom line is there's no uniform cost for water," she said. "The existing pricing scheme is confusing and obscure for the public and it needs to be more transparent."
The report looks at how much water costs, where the different water costs are hidden in water and tax bills, and what that means for residents.
There are 48 water districts on the island, 11 in Suffolk County and 37 in Nassau County. The researchers said they used the most recent data available on water districts' websites and annual drinking water reports for the study. The vast majority of districts were also called multiple times for further data and verification of costs, the group said.
Researchers assumed a typical family had four members, which the typical uses about 10,000 gallons of water per month, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The organization also issued several recommendations:
· Consolidate water districts.
· Establish a uniform rate structure with transparency.
· Implement more incentives for conservation.
· Educate the public on tiered water rate systems.
· Ban private water districts.