Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What do I need to do if I am selling or purchasing a home in the district?

A. Please call our office at 631-427-8190 with the following information ready:
  • Your account number
  • Service (current home) address
  • Seller’s forwarding address
  • Purchaser’s name
  • Date of closing
  •  Please call our office for a final meter reading

Q. What affects water consumption the most?

A. Several factors affect water consumption, and as a result, your water bill. Chief among them are weather, home conditions and leaks.
  • Weather: Water consumption typically changes on a seasonal basis. Most people use less water during the cooler months than in the summer.  Frequent watering of lawns and gardens increases usage. If you have a sprinkler system, your usage and bill will be higher during the months of its use.
  • Living Conditions: Have you made changes or improvements to your home? Expansion (e.g., adding an apartment, bathroom, etc) will increase usage. And, of course, the more people living in your home, the more usage.  Consequently, you’re likely to receive a higher bill.
  • Leaks: Check your home for leaks. Little things add up. For example, a dripping faucet can account for substantial increases in water usage over time.  Even a toilet tank leak can add up to higher bills.

Q. Why do I have to pay for water that results from a leak?

A. The consumer is responsible for all the water that passes through the water meter including water caused by a leaking meter.

Q. What is the average bill?

A.  Each consumer’s usage is determined by different variables including the number of people living in the home and their use of water. In addition, the way the lawns are watered and other uses of water also affect a bill.  For these reasons, we are unable to give a meaningful average. Additionally, water consumption typically changes from season to season.

Q. Why is this bill higher than the last bill I received?

A. Many factors can contribute to fluctuations in your water bill. Extreme weather conditions such as a drought or heavy rainfall the previous year can be a factor. Additionally, water consumption typically changes from one season to the next. For an accurate comparison, examine bills from corresponding periods of previous years, while considering rainfall recorded. An increase in the number of people living in the residence can be a factor. Another culprit could be a leak. Dripping faucets inside and outside are obvious sources, but look for other less visible signs as well. Listen for hissing noises around the toilet, which could indicate a shut-off valve is leaking. An underground sprinkler system is another area to check. Leaks can add up. For example, a hole that’s 1/16″ wide can leak as much as 74,000 gallons of water in 90 days.

Q. Will I receive a bill if I used no water?

A. Even if no water was used during a quarterly period, a minimum charge bill will be rendered.

Q. Do you accept payments over the telephone?

A. No, payments cannot be made over the phone at this time.  Payments can be mailed to: PO Box 71458, Philadelphia, PA 19176-1458. Please be sure to include your account number on your check. You may also pay your bill at our office located at 75 5th Avenue South, Huntington Station, NY 11746 between the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Check or cash only is accepted at the office. For your convenience, we have also added a Pay Your Bill Online feature, which you can access in the billing section of our website.

Q. Why do I have to pay a new owner or final bill fee?

A. A new owner or final bill fee are specific charges used to defray the costs incurred to establish a new service or discontinue a service. Also, in order to keep service costs low for our customers, we established these fees to cover costs associated with new infrastructure and maintaining wells.

Q. What is the first thing I have to do?

A. First, determine if your property is serviced by the South Huntington Water District; there are four separate, independent municipal water suppliers in the Town of Huntington. Second, if you are within our service area, find out if there is a water main fronting your property. (If there is not, you may be required to extend the water main in addition to installing the water service). Both of these questions can be answered by consulting with our staff.

Q. If I am within the District boundaries and an existing water main fronts my property, what do I do next?

A. You must make an application with the District for each new water service. The owner or the owner’s authorized agent must appear at the District office to fill out and sign a District-issued application card. You’ll need the tax map information (Section, Block, Lot) for your property as well as the assigned post office/town address. We may also ask you for a survey or plot plan to determine your exact location. At that time you must also pay the requisite and prevailing application and materials fees. These fees vary according to residential and non-residential status as well as according to the size of the proposed water service. The District staff can advise you on the specific fees for your particular service. Application and materials fees must be paid prior to the installation of a water service.

Q. Who installs a new water service?

A. The property owner is responsible for hiring and paying a licensed water main/water service contractor who is acceptable to the District and who has the proper performance bond on file with us. Your contractor, if bonded with and approved by the District, is responsible for installing your new water service in full accordance with our specifications, from the District’s distribution main in the roadway to at least the meter vault. Your contractor is required to do all necessary plumbing, excavation and restorations, including the roadway. Be advised that your contractor must contact the governmental entity owning the road (Town, County or State) and obtain the necessary road permit. Your contractor must also contact the proper underground utilities mark out agency. The Water District will make wet cut connections into the distribution water main up to and including 2”. Larger sized main cut-ins, however, must be made by your contractor and will involve the insertion of a “tee” with District-specified valves on both the new service line and the existing distribution main. This type of work requires the shut-down of the District’s main in the street. Consequently, your contractor may be required by the District to work off-hours in order to minimize inconvenience to existing customers. Also, if you are installing ‘hard piping’, your contractor must super-chlorinate these new sections of water main and then have it bacteria tested by a New York State-certified laboratory in accordance with Water District procedures. No new section of water main may be placed into service without satisfactory bacteria testing results. The written lab results must be provided to the Water District. Generally, once you have hired an approved contractor, they will coordinate directly with the Water District to arrange for a mutually agreeable installation time and date. At that time, the District will be present to perform our duties including initial installation inspection. The District does not perform any water service inspections beyond the water meter vault. You may be required to have the new water service inspected by other governmental agencies, however, and it is your responsibility to independently coordinate with them.

Q. What if I have an existing water service on my property that I wish to re-use?

A. In almost all instances, older, existing water services are not suitable for re-use due to their age, their location on the property, their piping composition or their inappropriate size. Those few water services that are permitted for re-use must be brought up to the current specifications of the Water District. Water services that are not re-used must be safely and properly terminated at the water main by your contractor either prior to or in conjunction with the installation of the new water service. Please consult the District ordinances for full rules on existing water services. No final approvals will be made for any properties where existing water services have not been properly retired.

Q. Do I need a backflow preventer on my new water service?

A. Yes. If you are installing a residential service up to and including 2”, the backflow prevention plan is already incorporated into our water service specifications. If you are installing a non-residential service (including fire lines), however, a separate Backflow Prevention Plan incorporating an RPZ must be filed with the Suffolk County Health Department and the Water District. Backflow Prevention Plans must be approved by both the Health Department and the Water District prior to the water service being installed. If you are unfamiliar with the filing of a Backflow Prevention Plan you can call the Suffolk County Health Department at 631-853-3193 for complete information. All backflow preventers must be successfully tested by a New York State-certified tester within 30 days of their installation. Your water main/water service contractor may or may not be certified to do this test. If not, you must hire a State certified inspector to perform the mandated test.

Q. What is a Tap Letter and what must I do to get one?

A. A Tap Letter is a certification from the Water District that your property is now connected to a municipal water supplier. The Health Department and other agencies may require this letter for your final building approvals. The District will issue a Tap Letter only after a satisfactory final inspection of your water service and upon receipt of a successful certified test on your backflow preventer(s). Common reasons for failing a final inspection are meter pit covers that are too high or too low, damaged pit covers or curb boxes, debris in the meter pit, damaged or missing remote reading devices, or untested backflow preventers. Final inspections will not be made until the building is substantially completed and the final grade in the area of the water meter pit is fully established. You are advised to call ahead for your Tap Letter inspection; Tap Letters cannot be issued the same day as their request. Please also have your Health Department-issued RO4 (residential) or CO4 (commercial) number handy, as it is required for the Tap Letter. When multiple Tap Letters are being requested, a letter or FAX (631-427-6095) with the appropriate information can help speed the process.

Q. Is there a way that I can shut off my water in an emergency?

A. Yes. The main water shut-off is usually located where the water service enters the premises, typically near a boiler or hot water heater. Before an emergency arises, identify the valve and make sure it is clearly marked by tagging it or painting it with a bright color. You also may want to check to make sure it works by turning it clockwise until the water shuts off to the house. Open the faucets in the kitchen or bathroom to make sure no water is flowing. If the valve is not functioning properly, have it replaced or repaired right away. Don't forget to turn the water main back on when you are finished with the process.

Q. Why would my tap water be reddish in color or “rusty”?

A. First, check to see if the water is coming exclusively from the hot water tap. If so, have your hot water heater checked. It might be rusting and may need to be replaced. If you live on Long Island’s south shore, what you might see is not rust but a naturally occurring element called iron, which is colorless in groundwater. However, when it combines with air as you turn on your tap, the iron turns to a reddish-brown color. Although it may not look very appealing, it’s not harmful. Additionally, sometimes iron in the tap water can be the result of the element settling in the water mains and becoming stirred up during a water main break or a fire hydrant being opened. If you have a persistent problem with this, call us at 631-427-8190.

Q. My tap water looks cloudy sometimes. Does this mean it is contaminated?

A. No. Cloudiness is often caused by air bubbles in the water that eventually float up to the top and dissolve. This is especially frequent in the wintertime when the water is very cold. Another reason for cloudiness is the presence of calcium, a harmless mineral, that eventually settles toward the bottom of the water making it clear again.

Q. Is tap water safe to drink?

A. The District routinely monitors drinking water quality. Each of our wells is tested before distribution. All test results are reviewed by the Suffolk County Department of Health and must meet State and County limits or water cannot be distributed to the public. The South Huntington Water District is pleased to report that the water supplied to the community meets all the standards required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Health, and the Suffolk County Department of Health.

Q. How long can I store drinking water?

A. Water from your tap can be stored for six months in capped, plastic containers that will not rust. Water that has been boiled for one to three minutes can be stored for up to one year in similar containers. If you choose to store your tap water in case of emergency, remember to replace the water every six months, as the disinfectants will slowly dissipate and your water will not be as safe to drink. Never store water near toxic substances such as bleach or other cleaning products that can actually pass through plastic.

Q. Can I make baby formula with my hot tap water?

A. Although cold tap water is safe for us to drink, hot water from your sink may not be safe, especially for babies. Your water heater may contain some very slight impurities, so use cold water from the tap instead. Heat up water in the microwave or over the stove and it will be perfectly safe for your baby formula.

Q. Is it better to use hot or cold water when preparing a meal?

A. Cold water is best to use for cooking and drinking. Hot water is more likely to contain elements from your household plumbing and water heater since those particles generally dissolve into hot water more easily.

Q. How can I prevent the pollution of drinking water sources?

A. First, properly dispose of chemicals that are utilized in your home. Second, try to buy environmentally friendly household cleaners and products. Remember that anything you dump on the ground today can pollute the drinking water of future generations.

Q. How important is water to the human body?

A. Since our body area is made up of about 70 percent water, it is extremely important to our well-being. Water helps us with digestion, transportation of bodily waste, lubrication of joints and even the regulation of our body temperature. Without water, we cannot survive more than a few days. It is important to keep yourself hydrated and drink the recommended 6-8 glasses of water per day.

Q. Does the South Huntington Water District add fluoride to the drinking water?

A. No. In fact, no public water supplier on Long Island adds fluoride to the water it provides consumers. Back in the 1940s, it was believed that adding the compound would prevent tooth decay, particularly among children, but that did not prove to be true. Today, most toothpaste contains fluoride as well as many of the foods we eat. Since too much fluoride can cause certain adverse health effects, public water suppliers in Nassau-Suffolk felt it was best to stop adding it. If you are caring for a baby or child, check with your pediatrician for more information.

Q. What does the South Huntington Water District add to our water?

A. Water is treated at each well site before entering the distribution system with sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment and corrosion control and is disinfected with calcium hypochlorite.

Q. Where does our water come from?

A. We draw our water from deep underground wells located throughout the District. The water bearing aquifers we tap into are recharged from rainwater that travels through hundreds of feet of clay, gravel and sand. That’s why it is important to avoid the improper and potentially dangerous disposal of chemicals and other wastes into the ground.

Q. Do we have “hard water” or “soft water”?

A. We have soft water. The more dissolved minerals there are – usually calcium and magnesium – the harder the water is said to be. Since the primary source of our drinking water is rainfall and because Long Island has relatively little in the way of minerals in its soil, our drinking water is classified as “soft.”

Q. I’m installing a sprinkler system.  Is there anything special I need to do?

A. Have your sprinkler system installed by a professional. A backflow prevention device and a rain sensor are required with the installation of a sprinkler system.

Q. I want a beautiful landscape that is water efficient. What should I plant?

A. Many types of flowers and plants can brighten up your landscape and survive on very little water. Beach Rose, Lavender, Black Eyed Susan, Mexican Sunflower, Narrow Leaf Zinnea and Butterfly Bush are all beautiful and durable plants that won’t require much watering. Ask your local nursery about ways to plant these flowers together and to learn more about their care. If you are looking for a larger addition to your yard, American Holly, Conelian Cherry, Eastern Red Cedar, Hedge Maple and Pitch Pine are trees that are considered “drought resistant.”

Q. Will I get sick from drinking water from local streams or rivers, even if they are not stagnant?

A. Yes, you may get sick from drinking water from streams or rivers, even if the water is flowing. Germs and bacteria living in the water may be undetectable to you and once ingested may make you very ill and even dehydrated.

Q. After working all day in the yard, I am tempted to quench my thirst by taking a drink from the garden hose. Is this safe?

A. Nobody should drink from the hose - animals included. Many standard vinyl garden hoses contain chemicals to make them flexible. These substances, which could make you sick if ingested, could get into the water flowing through the hose. Also, the likelihood of lawn fertilizers or other such chemicals finding their way into the hose is too great to risk drinking water from that source. It’s best to take a few moments to go indoors and fill your glass with a cold drink from the tap.