Q. Is the water on Block Island safe to drink?
A. Yes, The water provided by the Block Island Water Company meets or exceeds all Rhode Island Department of Health and E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) standards. We are required by federal law to submit a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR, every year. The CCR is an annual water quality report that a community water system is required to provide to it's customers. The CCR helps people make informed choices about the water they drink. It lets consumers know if there are any contaminants in their drinking water and what those contaminants may be. The CCR is also an effective tool for a water system to inform consumers what it takes to deliver safe drinking water to the community.
Q. Is there fluoride added to the water?
A. No fluoride is added to the water.
Q. Should I winterize my house before the winter?
A. If you plan to leave your summer home for the winter it is important that you notify the BIWC and a licensed plumber to get your meter removed and your house properly drained and shut off for the winter months. This will prevent any pipes from freezing and leaks occurring over the winter. In accordance with the New Shoreham Water District Rules and Regulations the BIWC is not responsible for any damaged incurred, or costs associated with, any frozen meters and/or pipes inside a dwelling and out to the water shut off valve at the property line.
Q. I am on a private well, how do I get my water tested?
A. Regular testing of privately maintained wells is recommended by the Rhode Island Department of Health annually or when there is a suspected problem. We use RIDOH standards for our water quality. The RIDOH has a web page with information and labs that can provide private well tests.
Q. Where do I find a plumber on Block Island?
A. There are five (5) plumbing contractors on Block Island:
Q. I would like to connect to the Block Island Water Company water system, what do I have to do?
A. Our permitting page will answer all of your questions regarding connecting to the water system on Block Island.
Q. When can I expect to receive my water bill?
A. Our billing is managed by the finance department at New Shoreham Town Hall. Billing is completed at the end of every month. If you do not receive your bill or have any questions regarding billing, please contact the finance office at 401-466-3208.
Q. I have just received my water bill, why is it higher than normal?
A. There are many factors that could contribute to a higher than normal water bill. You may have a leak, your meter may have been misread, you may have simply used more water than normal - especially during the summer months. A leaking toilet can account for over 30,000 gallons per month! Customers often times are unaware of how much water they actually use. Please call the Water Company for a review of your account.
If you think the over usage is the result of a leak, plumbing, or metering problem then you need to contact the Water Company and possibly hire a licensed plumber to come to your property and survey the problem. If the problem demonstrates that the usage is unjust, you may request a formal hearing before the Water and Sewer Board of Commissioners, in the form of a letter signed by the licensed plumber outlining the event. The letter will be reviewed at the normal monthly meeting of the New Shoreham Sewer and Water Commissions.
Q. What is allocation, and where do I purchase it?
A. Allocation is a one time purchase that is maintained for the property that it is associated. When a customer purchases allocation, they are buying a portion of the water treatment plants' available allotment. The amount purchased depends upon the needs of the individual property during the summer season (July, August, and September). The allocation purchase is based on their summers usage because that is when the demand is the highest. When a customer exceeds their purchased allocation for their property, they will either incur penalty charges at a rate of $55 per thousand gallons, or they have the option of purchasing more allocation to the amount they exceeded before Oct 31st of each year.
The BIWC determines the available allocation for sale each year by looking at the annual summer usage minus the water treatment plant's capacity.
Purchasing allocation and questions regarding allocation can be directed towards Susan Garneau at 401-466-3231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I have penalty charges on my bill, what should I do?
A. If you incurred penalty charges on your bill it is because you exceeded your allocation allotment for that given summer quarter. The summer quarter usage is defined as the total gallons used during the months on July, August, and September. The total summer quarter usage times 1000 gives you the total gallons used for that period. If you exceed you purchased allocation, then there are over-usage penalties associated with the account. Water over-usage penalties are $55 per thousand gallons over the purchased allocation.
For example, if the property has purchased 20,000 gallons of allocation for their property and they used 25,000 gallons total over the summer quarter, they will have exceeded their allocation by 5,000 gallons. The penalty charges on this account would be $85 for sewer and $275 for water.
There are a few steps you need to consider when you have exceeded your allocation.
1. Determine whether or not this will occur again next year.
2. If you think it will occur again, you need to purchase more allocation to the amount that will be needed for future demands of your property. If you do not purchase the allocation, you will be charged the full penalties for your account that year. If you want to compare purchasing allocation versus paying the penalty you can use our online allocation calculator.
3. If you think the over-usage is the result of a leak, plumbing, or metering problem then you need to contact us and possibly hire a licensed plumber to come to your property and survey the problem. If the problem demonstrates that the penalty is unfair or unjust, you must request a formal hearing before the Water and Sewer Board of Commissioners in the form of a letter signed by the licensed plumbed outlining the event. The letter will be reviewed at the normal monthly meeting of the New Shoreham Sewer and Water Commissions.
Q. Why is there a service charge for standby and fire protection customers?
A. The water system has been designed and sized to accommodate a specific quantity and quality of water. The annual fixed costs associated with the capital expenditures to have that water available during the peak demands are recovered by these fees.
Q. How does Reverse Osmosis work ?
A. Reverse Osmosis works by passing water through a semi-permeable membrane that separates the pure water into one stream and the salt water into another stream. The process is called "reverse osmosis" because it requires pressure to force pure water across a membrane, leaving the impurities behind.