Water Leaks


A faucet running water

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Drips and leaks allow water and your money to go down the drain.  Just a slow drip can use up to 15 to 20 gallons a day; while a toilet that keeps running can waste thousands of gallons of water a year.  Leaks are estimated to waste more than 10% of indoor water supply, driving up water and sewer bills.  Conserve water and save money by finding and fixing leaks, even the tiny ones.


Learning if you have a leak

If you have been notified you may have a leak, or if you suspect you have one; turn off all water using appliances and fixtures inside and outside your home.  Do not use any water during the test period. 

Locate your water meter at the front of your property, (usually located in a vinyl or concrete box).  If you have trouble locating your meter, please contact the Water Department at 253-922-8733 ext. 2716 for assistance.  The Water Department business hours are Monday – Friday 7:00AM – 3:30PM except for holidays.

Once you have located your meter, check to see if the flow indicator has a plus sign in the middle of the circle.  If so, water is passing through the meter.  You can also monitor the 9th number to the far right to check for leaks.  For example if the number rotates from 0 to 1, that is equivalent to 1/1000th of one cubic foot of water.  The faster it moves, the faster water is moving through the meter.

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To pinpoint whether the leak is coming from inside or outside the home, close the house shut off valve (generally located on an outside wall where the water line enters the home, although some homes do not have them).  Go back to the meter.  If the meter is still moving, the leak may be outside the home in the service line that leads from the meter to the home.  If the meter does not move after the second test, the leak may be inside the home.


Common Culprits

Leaking toilets or dripping faucets are the usual sources of leaks.  A leaky toilet loses water from the tank into the bowl without being flushed.  Many times these leaks are silent.  If you can hear water running, you definitely have a leaking toilet!

To test for toilet leaks, lift the lid off the toilet tank and put five to 10 drops of food coloring or a leak detection tablet into the tank.  Wait 30 minutes, then look in the bowl.  If you see colored water, you have a leak.

In most cases, replacing the toilet flapper and or the filling mechanism will correct the problem.

How To Repair a Toilet The Home Depot

A leaky faucet is often the result of a bad rubber washer.  The washer is typically located under the handle and can be easy to repair, if you have the right tools.  The internet has a lot of information and videos showing how to replace washers.

If in doubt about any repair, seek a plumbing professional.

For help determining if you have a leak, contact the Utility Billing Clerk at utilities@cityofmilton.net.  Please email your address and the dates you believe you had/have a leak.  We will let know if we see any constant consumption going through your meter during the requested time frame.


Leaks Outside Your Home

The city maintains all water mains and service lines in the public right of way or city owned easements.  The homeowner is responsible for the private line that runs from the meter to the home.  Pooling water in areas of your landscape or a wet spot that never dries on concrete may be signs of a leak in that line.

Frequently outdoor leaks are hoses and faucets left on or not turned off completely; and problems with irrigation.  When setting up your watering needs for the summer, be sure to do a test on the hoses and pipes to make sure there are no holes, drips etc.

You should call a plumber to determine whether there is a leak and fix it if necessary. 

If you see water bubbling up or gushing from the street, the water main underneath may be broken.  Please contact 911 immediately.

If you need your water temporarily shut off at the meter, please contact the Water Department at 253-922-8733 ext. 2716.