Why do owners of vacant property still have to pay a water and sewer fee?

Vacant property in Albany is charged a per-foot rate for access to water and sewer service. Even though the property may not be connected to the water system, water and sewer pipelines still run along the vacant property, and still require maintenance by the Albany Water Department.

Shared Community Resource

The Albany Water Department maintains water and sewer infrastructure throughout the City, which is considered a shared community resource. Albany Water Customer’s water and sewer bills pay for needed system improvements, as well as daily operation and maintenance. As a vacant property owner, you have the availability to access the water and sewer system, and therefore have an annual fee associated with that access. In addition, the city has a combined sewer system where both sanitary wastewater and stormwater are collected and treated before discharged to the Hudson River. Precipitation and runoff from the vacant property enters the combined sewer system and there is a cost to collect, transport and treat this flow as well.


A vacant lot is charged $2.46 per front foot, per year for water, and the same amount for sewer. More information about rates and the current rate structure can be found on our Water and Sewer Rates page. If an owner of a vacant property also owns an adjacent property with a water meter, the two properties can be combined to eliminate the water and sewer fee for the vacant property. A water and sewer fee for a vacant property can also be eliminated if the vacant property is declared undevelopable by the City’s Assessment office.

Show All Answers

1. Who owns the water service leading to my house?
2. Will the City repair the portion of the water service I am responsible for?
3. Who repairs the sidewalks and driveways damaged during a water main break?
4. My lawn was damaged during a water main break. Will you replace it?
5. My water bill is too high. What should I do?
6. What is the oldest water main in the City?
7. Why are there more water main breaks in the cold weather?
8. Why must we pay sewer charges as well as water charges?
9. Why do owners of vacant property still have to pay a water and sewer fee?
10. Can the public visit any of the Water Department facilities or reservoirs?
11. Many Capital District communities have water restrictions. How about Albany?
12. I have heard Albany water was judged the best in the State. Is that true?
13. Is it true that the Albany Water Department is checking every water main in the City?
14. Is Albany water the lowest priced water in the Capital District?
15. What effect did the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America have on the Albany Water Department?
16. Where does Six Mile Water Works get its name?