Emergency Dispatch: (703) 335-7990

Customer Service: (703) 335-7950


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Leak Detection

Whose responsibility is it to fix leaks?

That depends on where the leak is located. The Service Authority is responsible for leaks on the street side of the water meter and in the meter pit. Leaks from the connection to the water meter to the home, as well as leaks inside the home are the responsibility of the customer. It is very important to repair leaks as quickly as possible. Ignoring leaks can waste a great deal of water, cause significant property damage and can be costly to the consumer. Quickly addressing leaks will save water and money.


Check for leaking toilets

Leaking toilets are the number one source of wasted water in the home. A leaky toilet tank wastes between 300 gallons (slow leak) and 60,000 gallons (running toilet) per month. To detect a slow leak, put food coloring in the toilet tank and wait up to 12 hours without flushing. If the water in the bowl turns color, your toilet tank is leaking. Replace the parts inside your toilet tank. Repair kits are inexpensive and are available at most home improvement stores. The Service Authority recommends you perform this test at least twice a year. Catching a toilet leak at its earliest stage can save a lot of water and keeping from pouring your money down the drain. Check for leaky faucets, showers and hoses.

Worn plumbing fixtures waste a great deal of water and can be costly to the consumer. Check faucets and hose connections (i.e., at your washing machine) frequently. The table below illustrates the potential water loss from leaky faucets:


Even a Small Leak Costs You Money

Slow Leak
Steady Drip
Slow Stream
Steady Stream

450 gallons per month

750 gallons per month

3,000 gallons per month

12,000 gallons per month

Adds up to $4.46 to your monthly bill

Adds up to $7.43 to your monthly bill

Adds up to $29.70 to your monthly bill

Adds up to $188.80 to your monthly bill


Check for Underground Leaks

An underground water leak due to a broken pipe or faulty coupling can be very costly because the water loss is not always easy to spot. Careful attention to the signs of a water leak can help minimize costly water leaks. The table below illustrates the potential water loss from broken underground pipes:

A Leak This Size
...Wastes This Much Water...
...And Adds This Much to Your Bill.


3,600 Gals./Month



10,800 Gals./Month



36,000 Gals./Month



199,000 Gals./Month



340,000 Gals./Month


The commodity charge per thousand gallons used in the examples above are based on $3.35 for water and $6.55 for sewer, the rates effective 1/1/2013.

*Customers may be eligible for a partial adjustment of charges. Contact a Customer Service Representative for policy details.


The following tips may help you to identify underground leaks as quickly as possible:

  1. Be aware of your normal consumption patterns. The most common symptom of an underground water leak is consistent/worsening high consumption. One of the best ways to catch a leak quickly is to pay attention to your bill and investigate unusually high consumption.
  2. Search for unusual soggy spots in the general vicinity of your water line. Unusual wet spots not caused by precipitation or watering is often a sign of an underground water leak. Check the area carefully. Often the effects of an underground leak may surface several yards away from the actual leak.


Call the Service Authority

When the above measures fail to identify the cause of unusually high consumption, customers should report the problem to the Service Authority. A Field Service Technician can be dispatched to see if water is still flowing through the meter when all faucets are closed; If water continues to pass through the meter you may have a leak.
Never open your own meter pit. Opening the meter pit can damage our meter reading equipment. Improperly closed lids can also create a hazard. Always let Service Authority personnel open the meter pit.


When our employee arrives they:
  • Will ask you to close your master valve.
  • Will verify that there are no leaks inside the meter pit at the meter.
  • Will check to see if water is still passing through your meter when the master valve is closed; if there is registration on the meter you probably have an underground leak between the meter and your master valve. If you are unable to locate and repair the leak yourself, you may want to consult a plumber. If water does not pass through your meter when the master valve is closed, but resumes when only the master valve is open and all faucets are closed, you probably have an undiscovered inside leak. If you are unable to locate and repair the leak yourself, you may want to consult a plumber.