Water Services Division (WSD)

The Water Services Division is a section of the Office of the People’s Counsel, the public advocate for District utility ratepayers. The Water Services Division is the advocate for DC Water’s consumers. OPC’s reputation as a premier consumer services advocate working with energy and local telephone utilities led to the DC Council assigning OPC the authority and responsibility to assist DC water consumers. OPC’s WSD assists with consumer complaints and the legal role of representing the interest of water consumers before the DC Water Board in matters of rates and service.

OPC works on behalf of the consumer to negotiate customer complaints about billing, service quality and other issues that may arise between the consumer and DC Water. OPC’s assistance to water consumers is free of charge.

The Office of the People’s Counsel shares the contact information below to help consumers reach the appropriate offices when working to resolve a question or dispute about utility service.

OPC provides a range of free services to utility consumers, including helping consumers learn how to get the greatest value for their utility service dollar.

In cases involving a complaint you are advised to first contact the utility to try to resolve the issue on your own. If you are not satisfied with the resolution offered, or feel you need more information to make a decision, contact OPC at (202) 727-3071 or info@opc-dc.gov. An OPC consumer complaint specialist can work with you to help resolve your individual consumer complaint, advise you of your rights, or if needed, refer your case for further investigation.

You may file a complaint related to your Pepco, Washington Gas, or Verizon service directly with OPC online: File a Complaint.

Contact Information

Main Office:

  • 1385 Canal Street, SE
    Washington, DC 20003
    8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

By Telephone:

  • 202-787-2000
  • 202-787-2333 (Fax)


Things You Need to Know


  • Consumers must contest the bill in WRITING within 20-calendar days from the bill issued date.
    • The bill must identify when a consumer must challenge the bill.
    • If the consumer does not challenge the bill within 20-calendar days, the consumer surrenders the right to challenge the bill.
    • If a consumer contacts DC Water in any manner other than in writing, DC Water representatives shall inform the customer of the requirement that a challenge to a residential customer’s bill must be made in writing and received within 20 calendar days of the bill issued date.
    • If a customer’s challenge to a bill is timely or within the 20 days allowed, DC Water shall suspend the customer’s obligation to pay the disputed bill until the customer has received the result of the DC Water investigation of the challenge in writing.
    • With every formal challenge of the bill DC Water must provide a Bill Investigation Report (BIR) informing the consumer of DC Water’s findings. If the consumer disagrees with the billing investigation report, the consumer has the right to an appeals process that’s facilitated by petitioning for an administrative hearing with DC Water.
  • Administrative Hearing
    • Consumers must file a petition within 15-calendar days in writing from BIR issue date.
    • All petitions for administrative hearings must be filed with DC Water in writing via the mail or DC Water’s website.
    • During the appeals process, there will be no penalty or service disconnections for non-payment for the bill until the appeal has been considered and the consumer is notified in writing of the results of the appeal and a new date for payment.
    • The consumer will have the right to represent himself or herself or be represented by an attorney.


BEWARE: Actual vs. Estimated Billing

  • Actual: DC Water bills a consumer based on an accurate read from the installed water meter measuring the actual water usage.
  • Estimated: DC Water bills consumer based on a rough calculation of usage when accurate meter read is unavailable DC Water is required to read the customer’s meter at least every four months.
  • If DC Water, cannot read a consumer’s meter, they will continue to estimate the bill.
  • A customer may also submit photographic evidence of current meter reading to obtain an invoice based on an actual meter reading.
  • DC Water may be unable to collect an accurate meter read if at any time, a meter, data collection device, or transmitter fails to register correctly as a result of tampering.
  • DC Water consumers need to know when they should challenge their bill, understand their bill, and how to maintain service to stay ahead of any potential water-related issues.Updates to the Process for Challenging a DC Water Bill


  • Consumers should pay their water bill on time and in full payment by the due date.
  • A partial payment is better than not paying the amount owed.
  • Payment assistance and arrangement are available for special circumstances.


  • If a consumer receives a pending disconnection notice from DC Water, please contact OPC’s Water Services Division. A WSD representative will discuss with the consumer how to prevent disconnection by:
  • Making a payment plan.
  • Seeking Utility Payment Assistance.

* During the Public Health Emergency and 15 days thereafter, DC Water cannot disconnect your service.

If you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance, please contact the Office of the People’s Counsel at 202-727-3071 or WaterInfo@opc-dc.gov.

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DC Water Consumer Bill of Rights

The DC Water Consumer Bill of Rights establishes the rights and responsibilities of the water authority and its customers. Click on the PDF below to read the Consumer Bill of Rights.

PDF available for Download

Lead Pipe Replacement Program

Lead in water causes serious health issues for both adults and children. If you are concerned about lead in your water, we recommend getting a Lead Test Kit from DC Water. For the next decade, DC Water will be replacing the lead piping. The goal is to replace all lead piping by the end of 2030. Please review the information and links below on how to participate in the Lead Pipe Replacement Program.

Do You Have Lead Pipping?

Besides using a Lead Test Kit to determine if lead is in the water, a consumer can visit the LEAD MAP to see if your property has a lead water service line. The map will determine if there is lead on the public and private sides of the lead water service line. If you want to update the map, we recommend visiting https://www.dcwater.com/leadmap and emailing leadtest@dcwater.com.

When Does DC Water Replace Lead Pipping?

DC Water replaces lead pipping during construction projects and by consumer’s voluntary request. If DC Water identifies the lead pipping during a construction project, DC Water will notify the customer. DC Water shall request consent to replace the portion of the lead water service line on private property via email and telephone if it does not receive a response within 14 days after delivery of the request. DC Water shall complete the water service line replacement on private property if it gets consent within 30 days after delivery of the request.

DC Water will use funds from the lead water service line payment assistance program to cover the cost of replacing a portion of a lead water service line remaining after a prior partial replacement.

For more information, please visit https://www.dcwater.com/replacelead.

The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) administers the Lead Pipe Replacement Assistance Program. Depending on the consumer’s income, consumers are eligible to have 50 to 100 % of the cost of the lead pipe replacement covered. Please, visit https://doee.dc.gov/service/lead-pipe-replacement-assistance-program to view the eligibility requirements, the application process, and the application. If you do apply for the program, please submit the following documents:

  • Household’s most recent DC Water bill;
  • Property owner’s photo identification;
  • Proof of property ownership; and
  • Proof of income for each member of the household (if seeking approval for the income-eligible program).

If you have any questions, concerns, or need assistance, please contact the Office of the People’s Counsel at 202-727-3071 or WaterInfo@opc-dc.gov.

Financial Assistance

There are many available utility assistance programs for DC Water Consumers and individuals living in a multi-unit (4 or more units) building. We identified the programs that DC government and DC Water created in response to COVID 19 and outstanding balances.

COVID 19- Emergency Relief Fund DC Water CARES and Stay DC


STAY DC is a financial assistance program for D.C. renters and housing that covers housing and utility expenses, such as rent, gas, water, and electric bills. In order to be eligible for this program, you must be a renter or resident of a limited equity cooperative in Washington, D.C. who meets household income requirements, has a financial hardship during COVID-19 and faces housing instability. Housing providers may also initiate an application for a residential tenant they feel may qualify. Please, review the eligibility requirements here. Renters whose landlords do not participate in the program or who normally make payments directly to utilities may be able to have assistance go straight to their utility companies.

Renters and housing providers can apply for rental and electric, gas and water bill assistance at stay.dc.gov. Applicants can call the STAY DC Call Center at 833-4-STAYDC for support throughout their application process, Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm.


During the public health emergency, DC Government authorized funding to provide emergency relief to District residents struggling with unpaid DC Water bills during the public health emergency and 105 days thereafter. Eligible households may receive up to $2,000 for outstanding bills. DC Water approved $3 million in water assistance for FY 2021 and an additional $5 million in aid in FY 2022.

Eligible consumers must apply through DOEE by submitting a CRIAC Residential Relief Income. Eligible consumers must have an OUTSTANDING BALANCE and their annual income cannot exceed 80% Area Median Income, which is around $100,000 of annual income for a family of four. It is important to reiterate that consumers must have an outstanding balance, consumers cannot apply for funds to pay a current bill. Also, in a fiscal year (October to September) consumers may apply multiple times for the assistance but cannot exceed the $2,000 limit.


DC Water’s new Multifamily Assistance Program allows DC Water to assist people who don’t directly pay their water bills to DC Water, but who nevertheless may be struggling due to the pandemic. District residents who reside in multi-family buildings (4 or more units) are eligible and can apply for the program. If the tenant applies for assistance, the property owner must complete an application and agree to the terms of the program. The property owner will agree to post 90% of the credit from the utility assistance to the qualifying occupant’s rental account. for the program.

For more information on DC Water Care- Multifamily Assistance Program, please visit DC Water Cares- MAP. Also, please submit any questions regarding the program to DC Water at (202) 354-3750 or cares@dcwater.com.

DC Water Customer Assistance Program (CAP)

Since 2009, DC Water has implemented the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge or CRIAC to recoup the costs of the federally mandated $2.7 billion Clean Rivers Project to reduce combined sewer overflow or CSO into District waterways.

DC Water ratepayers can apply through the Department of Energy and Environment for monthly discounts for the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC). The value of the monthly discounts depends on the consumer’s income. Please call 311 for application questions and to receive a status update on the application process.

How to apply for the CAP?

Attn: CRIAC Residential Relief Program,
1200 First Street NE, 5th Floor, Washington DC 20002

What are the required documents to apply for the CAP Program?

Pictures or scans of the following documents are required:

  • Recent proof of income (pay stub, Social Security statement, proof of termination or unemployment, etc.)
  • Government-issued, photo identification (license, passport, etc.)
  • Recent DC Water bill
  • If the DC Water bill is not in a household member’s name, you must include proof of property ownership or a lease agreement indicating proof of responsibility for water charges
  • Complete and signed CRIAC Residential Relief Application

If you need assistance with the CRIAC application for the CAP Program, please call OPC’s Hotline at 202-727-3071 or email waterinfo@opc-dc.gov. For more information on the CAP Program, please visit DOEE’s website- https://doee.dc.gov/service/clean-rivers-impervious-area-charge-residential-relief-program.

Serving People by Lending a Supporting Hand (SPLASH)

SPLASH is a DC Water program that helps customers maintain critical water and sewer service during financial emergencies.

SPLASH is administered by the Greater Washington Urban League. Call the GWUL at (202) 427-4100 or visit www.gwul.org for more information.

Consumers are Talking

Barbara Morgan, Ward 7
“If it were not for the Office of the People’s Counsel’s efforts to educate ratepayers about pending legislation and rulemaking, many of us would be in the dark about the brutal impact these rulings would have on our lives. Thank you, Office of the People’s Counsel. Thank you, DC Government and all who join the call for justice of affordable rates.”

Dr. Horatio Harris, Ward 5
“I’m a 94-year old WWII veteran. I thought a career as a dental surgeon would leave me wanting for nothing in my retirement years. I was mistaken. My initial call to OPC has not only restored my utilities but made connections with other DC Government agencies. It’s developed into a relationship that appears to be long-lasting – in particular with Linda Jefferson and Valca Valentine. Not too much time passes when I receive a call from either of them just check on how I’m doing. It’s a blessing not to have to worry about these things and just focus on my health. OPC has made that possible.”

Elena Glassman, Ward 4
“I became ill with what I suspect was COVID 19. Simultaneously, for still unknown reasons, my water bill rose dramatically. While, COVID prevented a DC Water visit, OPC’s Water Division worked as a true advocate on my behalf. They provided access to energy reduction cost programs and the Mayor’s emergency DC Water fund until the bill reached a normal amount. I am personally most grateful to OPC for doing this work on behalf of DC residents. The importance of advocacy for the vulnerable consumer is critical, especially in times of unprecedented international crisis.”

Donalee Wood, Ward 4
“As a resident and consumer in the District of Columbia, I have had a very positive experience with the Office of the People’s Council. The existing situation of dealing with a pandemic had slowed my progress in collecting paperwork. The Water Services team is skilled, knowledgeable, and above all, a patient advocate on my behalf, especially helping me navigate through the maze of paperwork.”

Jeannette Jones, Ward 1
“My husband took ill and I retired to take care of him. We were hit with a $4,000 water bill. The more I tried to work with DC Water to pay them, the more it seemed that they would threaten to turn off my water. Then they turned it off. Through a blessing from God, Marchim Williams and OPC’s Water Services Division helped me get the water turned on and enroll in an affordable payment plan. I don’t know what I would have done without Mr. Williams’ assistance and patience.”

Afimina Caminis, Ward 3
“Before I called OPC, my attempts to get DC Water to investigate the situation had not produced any results. Marchim Williams frequently called DC Water on my behalf and kept me updated on his discussions with them. He was unfailingly professional, helpful, courteous, and kind, and he was very thorough in following up on my case. Ultimately, my dispute with DC Water was settled in my favor, for which I am grateful to Mr. Williams and to OPC. I doubt that the outcome would have been as positive without OPC’s assistance.”