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Water is carried from the Alcove Reservoir by a 48-inch diameter cast iron pipe (the "Supply Conduit") to our filtration plant located in the Town of Bethlehem, approximately half-way between the Alcove Reservoir and the City water distribution system. The filtration plant is a conventional treatment plant with aeration, hydraulic flocculation, sedimentation, rapid sand filtration and disinfection. Chemicals currently used in the process include sodium hypochlorite, polyaluminum chloride, sodium permanganate, and hydrated lime. In 2018, gas chlorination was replaced with sodium hypochlorite and sodium permanganate addition was relocated to the Alcove Reservoir.
The water supplied from the Alcove Reservoir is delivered to the city entirely by gravity through the Supply Conduit. The Supply Conduit, constructed in 1930-1932, is approximately 20 miles long and traverses the Towns of Coeymans and Bethlehem, from the Alcove Reservoir to the Loudonville Reservoir. Water is transmitted by the Supply Conduit to the filtration plant and subsequently, to the city and the Loudonville Reservoir.
The Loudonville Reservoir serves as both distribution, storage and back-up supply. The Loudonville system consists of three concrete lined basins with a total capacity of 211 million gallons, representing approximately 7-days of water supply to the City during an emergency or planned outage, one requiring shutdown of the Feura Bush filtration plant or the shutdown of the Supply Conduit.
The storage basins are uncovered. An ultraviolet (uv) disinfection system initially installed in 2003 was updated with new uv reactors in 2023 and can treat a total of 40 million gallons per day. The In addition, the finished water is chlorinated prior to entering the distribution system reservoir in accordance with New York State Department of Health requirements. Viricidal disinfection with chlorine is accomplished prior to ultraviolet treatment.
Interconnections to the Town of Colonie have capacity of approximately 10 million Gallons per Day. These interconnections, at Loudonville reservoir and New Karner Road, are for emergency use for supply to either municipality under an inter-municipal agreement.
You do. Under Albany City Code, the property owner owns and is responsible for maintaining the water service from the City-owned water main to the point of entry into the property. However, as a courtesy, under our current policies, and based on available resources, the Water Department may repair that portion of your water service from the City main to (but not including) the curb box, the valve used to control water flow into your building.
The property owner is responsible for the remainder of the service line from the curb box to the point of entry into the building.
The first thing to do is to call the Water Department at 518-434-5300. We will check your service history to see if there has been a change in your usage.
We also will be happy to send a water meter technician to your home to check for leaks or other problems that might be causing a high water bill. This is a free service. Although we cannot fix an internal plumbing problem, we can often identify the problem and advise you on what should be done.
The Albany Water Department now offers online bill payment for residential and commercial customers. Through this portal, customers can make one time payments, view 24 months of usage and billing history, and register for paperless billing. Visa, Mastercard, and electronic checks are currently being accepted, and there are no fees for using this service. Click Here to Pay Your Bill Online
55 miles of Albany’s 376 miles of water mains were installed in the mid-19th century. However, some of the mains may even be older, with some cast iron mains possibly installed in 1813. If true, Albany would have some of the oldest functioning cast iron water pipe in the western hemisphere.
Incidentally, all of the water mains in the City originally were hollowed-out tree trunks, many installed in the 1700s. We often uncover these inactive wooden water mains when making repairs to existing water and sewer infrastructure. In a few cases, we will retrieve these old wooden water mains for display purposes.
Vacant property in Albany is charged a per-foot rate for access to water and sewer service. Even though the property may not be currently 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 on a front footage basis 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 bill for a vacant property may also be eliminated if the vacant property meets the criteria outlined in the Albany Water Board Policy for Suspension of Billing.
City’s Assessment office.
Yes, it is. Using computerized leak detection equipment, we perform system wide leak detection. We set a goal to conduct leak detection on 100 miles of our distribution system piping every year. We are also investing in emerging real-time leak detection technology for areas of our system that have the oldest pipes or that have a history of main breaks..
Sewer charges have been included on Albany water bills for the last two decades. We must charge for sewer use because all of the wastewater collected is treated by Albany County at its wastewater treatment plants. The county bills us for treating the waste, and we must recover this cost from property owners.
Back in the 1970s, it was determined that the fairest way to assess sewer charges was to base them on the amount of water used by our customers since most of our customers generate waste in their daily lives, and that waste ends up in our sewer system. Because we have a combined storm and sanitary sewer system, wastewater, whether it is from a household toilet or lawn sprinkler, will end up in the sewer system. As more wastewater flows through the county sewage treatment plants, the Albany Water Department faces higher charges for processing the increased volume of wastewater and these costs are passed on to the property owners.
Yes, we will replace it, once. Our policy is that all lawn areas damaged during our excavations will be restored using standard City of Albany topsoil and seed. We cannot install sod or any other special landscape materials. It is important to remember that the property owner is responsible to water and maintain the lawn once the restoration is complete. The Water Department cannot return to replant the lawn if it has not been properly watered and maintained by the property owner.
We do. Our restoration crew will repair or replace sidewalks, driveways or streets damaged during a Water Department excavation. We will use only standard City of Albany restoration materials, however, which includes concrete, asphalt and red brick. Any special concrete, retaining walls, steps, custom landscaping or other structures within the City’s right-of-way or easement will be the responsibility of the property owner to restore.
There is a direct correlation between the number of breaks, freezing temperatures and the amount of snow cover. It seems that a deep snow cover actually helps to insulate underground water pipes by reducing frost penetration into the soil. Frost increases the soil pressure on the underground pipes.
YES! We hold limited tours of our filtration plant in Feura Bush as well as the Alcove Reservoir. Basic Creek Reservoir is accessible to shoreline fishing with a permit obtained from the Albany Water Department located at 10 N. Enterprise Dr. Albany NY 12204. Basic Creek Reservoir Fishing Permit fees are $10 for City residents and $20 for non-residents. The permits are valid for two years.
The one and only time that Albany issued water restrictions for residents was during the great Northeast drought of 1965 to 1966, when the reservoir had dropped to 30% of capacity. Thankfully, never before, or since, have restrictions been required in the City of Albany.
Although we have an abundant supply of pure and wholesome drinking water, we do not have a license to waste. We must all practice water conservation in order to preserve our precious resource. Call the Water Department at 518-434-5300 for ways you can conserve water and also lower your water bill.
Yes, it is. In 2003 & 2011, Albany drinking water was judged the best tasting surface (reservoir) drinking water in New York State during competition at the New York State Fair. We have also been judged Best Drinking Water in Regional competitions.
Yes, AWD deploys surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and other high-tech security measures to ensure that your water supply is safe and secure. We have a dedicated security unit that actively patrols the Reservoirs and watershed property owned by the Albany Water Board. The Water Department also works closely with the Albany Police Department, New York State Police, and both the NYS and US Departments of Homeland Security.
Rensselaer Lake, also known as Six Mile Water Works, is located on Fuller Road, six miles from downtown Albany. That’s as close as we can come to learning the source of its name.
Six Mile Water Works is under the jurisdiction of the Water Department. Six Mile Water Works was built by the City of Albany in 1851 for use as the City’s first public water supply reservoir. A dam was built where three streams united, covering 40 acres of Pine Barrens. The reservoir supplied the City with water from 1851 until the mid-1920s. Water was conveyed via a five-foot underground brick conduit to the City’s Bleecker Reservoir, located where Bleecker Stadium now stands.
Remnants of the egg-shaped, four-mile long conduit remain intact today in various sections along its path. So, the next time you are driving along Manning Boulevard between Washington Avenue and Central Avenue, give a thought to the large conduit six feet below, which once provided this City with drinking water.
We test your drinking water daily to ensure it is safe. Tests on drinking water are conducted at the filtration plant, at the Loudonville Reservoir and at various locations in the distribution system. Among key daily tests to ensure the safety of your drinking water are chlorine residual and microbiological tests for Coliform bacteria, which are indicators of potential pathogens. We also monitor pH and other chemicals to ensure our corrosion control process is functioning properly. Other drinking water parameters are monitored periodically throughout the year as required by the NYS Health Department and the US Environmental Protection Agency. These tests and results are presented in our Annual Water Quality Report that is published on our web site. Click Here for the Annual Water Quality Report
Questions or concerns about the smell, taste or appearance of your drinking water should be directed to our Dispatch number 518-434-5322.
If you notice any change in your normal water pressure, please call our Dispatch number at 518-434-5322.
Our office hours at 10 North Enterprise Drive are 8:30am to 4:30pm. Our office number is 518-434-5300. Our 24 hour emergency number is 518-434-5322.
Many of our homes in Albany were built when lead water services were common. We are actively working to replace all lead water services in the city by 2034. If you have a lead water service, please check out our lead service replacement program. If you are not certain if you have a lead water service, call us at 518-434-5322 and we can assist in determining the water service type.
Save $2,000 with our new Lead Service Replacement Program.
The Program provides a reimbursement of up to $2,000 to aid in the replacement of a lead service line. All homeowners with lead service lines are eligible for the grant funds – including owners of small multi-unit properties and those who do not reside in the home. For tenants or homeowners who are not able to complete a replacement at this time, free water filters are available to any household with a water sample that tests high for lead (above 10 ppb). Apply today at www.albanyny.gov/lead