Water leaks are costly and wasteful.
- A standard hose left running can waste as much as 28,000 gallons in a 24-hour period
- A continuously running toilet can use as much as 4,000 gallons of water per day
- A slow faucet drip can use as much as 5,000 gallons per month
The City constantly monitors the public system for leaks and conducts a system-wide leak survey annually. However, the City does not check private systems for water leaks. For more information of ownership responsibility, please view our Meter and Service Line Ownership diagram.
Below is a list of ways, and fixtures, that can be checked if a leak is suspected:
1. Always begin with the toilet(s) if a water leak is suspected. Toilets are responsible for 95% of water leaks in homes and businesses. Toilet leaks can be audible and visible, but they can also be silent.
An example of an audible or visible leak:
- If the toilet continues to run after it is flushed, this is a visible or audible leak, and it should be repaired immediately.
To determine if a toilet has a silent leak:
- Put food coloring in the tank at the back of the toilet. If the color shows up in the toilet bowl without flushing, it means that the water is leaking around the bottom flap in the tank.
- Instead of using food coloring, there are dye strips available for free at the Utility Billing Office.
Both of these types of leaks can be inexpensive to repair, depending on the extent of the leak. However, repairing these leaks will save money on the water bill. When a toilet continues to run after use, it is similar to leaving the faucet on and letting the water run down the drain.
2. If it is determined that the toilets are not the source of the leak, the next items to check around the home or business are:
- dripping faucets;
- the piping around the hot water tank;
- any other visible piping in the house.
3. To check if there is a leak in the underground service line between the home or business and the meter, first find the home or business water main cutoff valve, where the water service piping enters into the home or business. After shutting the water off at the cutoff valve, find the location of the City water meter (at or near the City/ property line), and look at the dial of the water meter. If the dial on the water meter is spinning (one may need to watch for at least 10 minutes), it means there is water running through the meter. If there water is running through the meter and the building’s water cutoff valve is closed, this indicates that there is a leak in the service line between the meter and home or business.
- Please call the Utility Billing Office (970-3211) if you do not know where the meter is, and we can assist you on how to find it.
4. If a leak is not found in the underground service line, turn the home or business water main cutoff valve back on and continue to watch the water meter. If the water meter dial spins this indicates that water is running in the home or business. If there is no water usage in the home or business, this may indicate that there is a leak in the home or business.
Report Water Leaks
If a water leak is found and is located in the piping between the water meter and the main, please contact us immediately at 434-970-3800 or 434-293-9164 so we can make a repair. This work is free of charge to the property owner. If a water leak is located in a pipe that is on the property owner’s side of the meter, then the property owner must contact a plumber for a repair.
Leak Credit Policy
The City has a leak credit policy designed to offer customers some relief from the financial impact of undetected water leaks while maintaining a financial incentive to be concerned about and fix water leaks. For more information, call a Customer Service Representative at (434) 970-3211. If it is determined that there is a leak on a property owner’s pipe and they wish to have the City to turn off the water meter, please call (434) 970-3800. Note that there is a $30 fee for this service.