Water Management

Open letter to City Water Customers from Don Greeley, Director, Water Management

On behalf of the entire Department of Water Management, I want to reiterate our sincere apologies for the concerns raised by the recent back-billing applied to some of our customer accounts without prior notification. 

Our team takes full responsibility for failing to ensure that all affected customers were contacted prior to receiving the bill with the extra amount, and that the reason for the back-billing was not fully explained to them.

We also understand that for some customers, the amount of the back-bill creates a financial hardship. That is one of several reasons that we are placing back-billing on hold until further notice as we review and update all the processes and protocols for equity and accuracy.

We also acknowledge that continuing the practice of allowing approximately 3,000 meters to be estimated well beyond the accepted practice of two-to-three months was problematic and should not have occurred. Digging deeper into the billing and meter-data transfer process is just one of many steps we’ll pursue in our efforts to update account information and clean-up the database. 

For bills that have already been issued, we will make sure the accounts are flagged to ensure they are not disconnected due to the adjustment that has been applied to the account.

Going forward, we’d like to also reassure our customers that we are committed to correcting these issues and ensuring that, if any leaks occurred at the site during the timeframe that bills were estimated, adjustments - as a credit - will be made to the account as well.

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and angst that this issue created for our customers.

For more information about what happened to cause this issue and how we plan to move forward, please keep reading.

Water and wastewater services are a critical function of a healthy community. The Department of Water Management has more than 300 dedicated employees that provide an adequate supply of safe drinking water to customers and visitors of Durham. We are also responsible for protecting the environment by making sure that wastewater treated at the water reclamation facilities meets all discharge/permit limits.

Department Staff & Facilities

The department has a wide variety of support divisions and programs to maintain the existing infrastructure that provides these integral services and strive to be a responsible steward of the city’s physical assets. Treatment facilities are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Emergency response teams for water main breaks, sewer spills and other emergency maintenance are always available as well.

Maintaining the financial integrity of the water and sewer systems is also a priority and key function of the department. Customer Billing Services strives to accurately bill all customers for their water and sewer services. Rates are evaluated annually to ensure that the department is providing cost-effective services while ensuring that necessary capital projects are funded appropriately.

A Look at Durham's New Water & Sewer Rates (Effective 8/1/19)

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  • Administration
  • Customer Billing Services
  • Plant Maintenance
  • Utility Engineering
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Water and Sewer Maintenance
  • Water Resources/Water Efficiency and Conservation
  • Water Supply and Treatment