City of Binghamton, New York

Water Conservation Program

By taking just a few simple measures, citizens can conserve water and reduce their costs, often considerably. To aid in this effort, the City of Binghamton offers the Water Conservation Program, which includes both informational resources and conservation reviews by Water-Sewer Department officials.

Conservation Review & Recommendations

For those seeking assistance investigating a possible leak, the Water-Sewer Department offers a conservation review, which includes a site visit and recommendations. Many of these reviews have allowed users to stop leaks, saving them hundreds of dollars.

For owner-occupied single and two-unit homes, this service is free of charge, while the charge is $100 for others.The City's new fee sheet of services provided by the Water Department reflects comparability with other municipalities and helps offset rising costs in delivering quality product and service.

For further information, including arranging a visit, please call the Water-Sewer Department at (607)772-7210.

Bottled & City Water: Cost Comparison

Although bottled water is increasingly popular worldwide, municipal water systems are just as healthy, if not more so - and as the Annual Drinking Water Report shows, the City of Binghamton's water service is as nutritious as any. Even if the quality of bottled water is on par with municipal water, the cost is far greater. In the City of Binghamton, commercial bottled water costs roughly 1,876 times that of City water*. The added cost of bottled water is greater still, given what is required for production, shipping, and disposal. Studies show that the worldwide production of bottled water burns roughly 20 million barrels of oil per year. As only a third of the bottles are being recycled, the rest are deposited in landfills or left as litter, degrading the environment and wasting plastic. In addition, every gallon of bottled water takes two gallons of water to produce, depleting local access to potable water.

*Estimate assumes a 20 ounce bottle of commercial water costs $1.25.

5 Helpful Water Facts

  1. Average Usage: An average adult uses up to 150 gallons of water each day.
  2. Efficient Shower Heads: Many older style shower heads use six-to-eight gallons of water per minute, but new “water-saving” shower heads use only two-to-three gallons per minute—saving water and money.
  3. Efficient Toilets:
    • Older, large-tank toilets use up to five gallons of water with each flush, but newer, “water-conserving” tank toilets use only 1.5 gallons per flush.
    • High water bills most often stem from problems with toilets. Check for toilet tank leaks by putting food coloring in the tank. If the food coloring later appears in the toilet bowl, then the flapper is leaking. Check the toilet for rotted rubber or corroded parts. A complete kit for rebuilding these parts can cost as little as $15, far less than the potential savings.
    • If your toilet suddenly starts running water, replace the flapper.
    • If you have to “jiggle” the toilet handle in order to get the toilet to stop, be sure to check your toilet and make any necessary repairs.
    • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues and other small waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
  4. Reading meters, stopping leaks: Be sure to know the location of your water meter and main water shutoff. Many water meters read like the odometer on your car—left to right.
    • Check to see if you have any leaks! To do so, make sure all the water is turned off, read your water meter, then read it again a few hours later. Any reported water usage during the shut-off period could indicate a leak. Use this process regularly to address leaks promptly. If you would like assistance, please do not hesitate to notify the City’s Water Department. (Contact information is below.) There is no charge for a single family, owner-occupied residence.
  5. Budgeting for your water bill: Did you know that a cubic foot of water is 7.48 gallons and/or that our water bills are based on “units”? One unit of water is 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons of water. Every property owner receives three water bills a year. Each bill covers approximately 121 days (four months) of water usage. The water bill you receive is actually for water you already used. It’s easy to budget for your water bill. Take your previous bill, divide by four and set aside that amount each month for your future bill. By budgeting monthly you will be ready when your bill arrives. Remember, you *CAN* make partial payments on your water account.

Breaking Down Your Water Bill

It can be confusing trying to understand your water / sewer bill. In order to help with clarification we have listed the particulars of how a bill is generated and what the charges are based upon.

The City of Binghamton bills in “Units of cubic feet” a cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons of water.

Since the City bills in one hundred cubic foot increments (or 748 gallons), one unit equals 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons.

If your bill is 21 units, it would break down as follows:

  1. The first ten units of water are $34.30, so take the 21 units minus 10, that leaves 11 units.
  2. Since the rate is different you would take those 11 units and multiply them by $3.23 - that would give you an amount of $35.53
  3. Now add the two amounts. $34.30 and $35.53. The total for water would be $69.83. That takes care of the water side of the bill.

The sewer side of the bill breaks down as follows:

  1. Since the first five units are $33.00, you would take the 21 units minus the first 5 units for 16 remaining units.
  2. Those units are charged at $6.60 per unit or $105.60.
  3. Now add the two amounts. $33.00 and $105.60 for a total of $138.60.

You now need to add the total water calculations with the total sewer side calculations:

  1. $69.83 for water plus $138.60 for sewer equals a total of $208.43.
  2. There is Meter size based Capital Fee of $16.00(for most residential homes), this must be added to the preceding total.
  3. That would be $208.43 plus $16.00 for a grand total of $224.43.