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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770


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Commercial Leak Detection - Equipment Malfunction

Equipment Malfunction

One of the largest sources of leakage at commercial properties is equipment malfunction. Often these kinds of “leaks” go on for extended periods because they are not causing any damage or disruption to daily operations. Common areas where malfunctions can occur include: 
  • Overflow valves or float valves on cooling towers, water features, swimming pool equipment, storage tanks, etc. can malfunction in the open position allowing equipment to continuously overflow water to the sewer.
  • By-pass valves can be left open following equipment maintenance, allowing a piece of equipment that is normally on a closed cooling loop to operate in a single pass mode, wasting thousands of gallons of water every day.
  • Temperature control valves fail, causing substantially more water to be passed through a piece of equipment than is necessary to cool it sufficiently.
  • Off/on switches or sensors can stick in the on position, running water through machinery that normally would be shut off when not in use.
  • Rusting through or separation of internal parts that allow water to escape and drain from a machine that normally contains and/or re-circulates the water.
  • Nozzles that are supposed to shut off drip continuously or stick on.

A weekly or monthly visual inspection of water using equipment will usually uncover these types of problems. Call the Water Efficiency Assistance Line at (503) 823-4527 to determine the probability of a leak by reviewing past and average consumption and by taking additional meter reads.  If a leak is suspected but its location unknown, customers may need to hire a professional leak detection service or appropriate plumbing company to pinpoint the exact location (see "Leak and Pipe Locating" in the Yellow Pages).  A licensed contractor should be contacted to repair the leak once the location is known.