DEP Hosts Event For Unhappy Customers

Bronxites who are unhappy with their water bill or water service had the chance to say something about it at a community outreach event.

The Department of Environmental Protection, which manages the city’s water supply, hosted the event at the Hutchinson Metro Center on 1200 Waters Place on Thursday, March 24.

The event, which was co-sponsored by Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s office, was designed to give Bronxites a chance to clarify any confusion they had about their bill, correct any billing errors, and learn more about DEP water initiatives.

The DEP set up tables with customer services representatives so that residents could sit down and review their bills with agency representatives rather than automated machines. They also got a presentation from DEP commissioner Cas Holloway.

The main reason customers attended the event, according to customer service manager Patrick Hendricks, was to question the 10 percent water rate increases over the past year.

Joe Rempson of Arnow Avenue showed up at the event with a long written complaint about how he had been overcharged for water service due to a defective meter in his two-story house.

“They are very difficult people to deal with sometimes,” said Rempson, whose anger diminished 30 minutes after meeting with a DEP representative.

“The representative said he was going to put in a new meter and monitor whether it’s functioningproperly.”

The DEP also took the opportunity to update Bronxites on the status of the Croton Water Filtration Plant in Van Cortlandt Park, which will be largest filtration site in the country and is expected to be finished by 2012.

However, most people’s concerns came down to money and bills. As one of the event’s organizers, Vacca recognized this as the main impetus behind the outreach.

“We all know that water bills are too high and we fight water increases,” Vacca said. “The DEP has been good enough to come down here and we have saved a lot of people a lot of money.”

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