Update on water usage, new meters and checking for water leaks
Posted on 01/16/2020
Watch for excessive use of water from kitchen faucets.The issue of water usage and new meters came up at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting when two citizens complained about high water bills. Unfortunately, for those citizens and others, sneaky leaks can cause excessive water use without the knowledge of the homeowner. In many cases, leaks are in irrigation system and from plumbing, especially toilets. It pays to be diligent about checking for leaks and fixing those that you find.

The City does not have the capability to monitor customers’ water usage for potential leaks. However, when the meters are read every other month, the utility billing clerk reviews a report of potential abnormal usage. The clerk will send a letter to those accounts with abnormally high usage suggesting they check for leaks. It is the customer’s responsibility to check for leaks in the water lines inside a customer’s home or yard, or in the water pipe line leading into the property from the City water supply. When leaks are detected by the customer, they should take immediate action to repair the leak or shut the water off.

To better educate customers about water usage, new meters and potential leaks, the City has put together some facts and tips.

How to detect a leak – During a time when no water is being used (no dishwasher running, no washing machine, no ice cube refilling in your refrigerator and no one’s taking a bath or shower or flushing the toilet), mark (using erasable ink or crayon) where the red pointer is on your water meter dial; wait for a period of time (1 hour to several hours) to see if the dial is in the same place or has moved past your mark. If the dial moved when no water was being used, it is registering water use at the residence, which mostly often indicates a leak.

Leaky toilets – Sometimes a leak is not readily evident. Look at all of the components of the toilet: the water level shouldn’t be too high, the fill valve should be working properly and the flapper seal should close securely to keep water inside the tank. Replace older, inefficient toilets with toilets that use less water per flush (1.28 gpf, built after 1994.) A leaking toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per day.
Monitoring water usage – If you are concerned about potential water leaks, read your water meter on a regular basis to see if usage seems high compared to your average use with no other changes to your household.

Schedule an appointment – If you received a letter from the City’s DPW Department noting that you need a new water meter but haven’t yet scheduled an appointment for the installation, you can do so by visiting the Utility Metering Solutions website portal or calling the vendor at 844-741-6248 (Monday -Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The sooner all meters are replaced, the better the new service will work for all water customers in the City.

Payment of water bills – This can be done several ways. You can mail in a check with the paper bill; pay in person at City Hall; pay by credit card using the online portal (a convenience fee is paid directly to Point and Pay services); or pay directly on the day the bill is due from your bank account using ACH, without a convenience fee. The latter method must be set up either at City Hall or online. You may also choose to get your utility bill via email rather than by U.S. mail.