By City Code, maintaining underground piping on the customer’s side of the water meter, beginning at the connection between the meter and the customer’s service line, is the responsibility of the customer.
Leaks in underground plumbing can be caused by many different factors, including rusting through from age or from stray electric currents from other underground utilities that can prematurely rust metallic piping, driving over piping with heavy trucks or equipment, poor initial installation, freezing and thawing of a pipeline, leaking joints or valves, or high pressure transients from open and closing valves or starting and stopping pumps quickly.
Signs of underground leaks include:
- Unusually wet spots in landscaped areas and/or water pooling on the ground surface.
- An area that is green, moldy, soft, or mossy surrounded by drier conditions.
- A notable drop in water pressure/flow volume.
- A sudden problem with rusty water or dirt or air in the water supply (there are other causes for this besides a leak).
- A portion of an irrigated area is suddenly brown/dead/dying when it used to be thriving (water pressure is too low to enable distant heads to pop up properly).
- Heaving or cracking of paved areas.
- Sink holes or potholes.
- Uneven floor grade or leaning of a structure.
- Unexplained sudden increase in water use, consistently high water use, or water use that has been climbing at a fairly steady rate for several billing cycles.
If any of these conditions exist at your facility or home, you may have a leak. If you suspect a leak, you may need to hire a professional leak detection company to pinpoint its exact location and a contractor to perform the repairs. There are leak detection service companies listed in the yellow pages under Leak and Pipe Locating. Any utility contractor should be able to repair a leak once the location is known.