Water Leaks - How Much They Can Cost
What is the cost of a water leak? The answer to this question is not a simple one. Several variables effect what a leak will cost such as the length of time the leak lasts; the size of the leak; and the water system pressure.
A typical individually metered residential customer uses approximately 5,000 to 6,000 gallons of water per month. In addition, the sewer bill is based on water usage. Hence, the incremental cost of 1,000 gallons of water and sewer use is $5.40 for water and $3.50 for sewer (2013 rates), for a total cost of $8.90. This total cost equals 9/10ths of 1 cent per gallon.
A leak can be costly and can add up quickly. Shown below is a chart which demonstrates how a small leak can develop into a large cost.
Size of Leak
Gallons per DAY (if water pressure is 60 lbs/sq. in.)
Water/Sewer Cost per DAY at .009 per gallon
Gallons per WEEK (60 psi)
Water/Sewer Cost per WEEK at .009 per gallon
Gallons per MONTH (60 psi)
Water/Sewer Costs per MONTH at .009 per gallon
Where to Check for Leaks
- Toilets-this is the most common cause for a high water bill. It is an unseen, often unheard leak that goes down the sewer. To check a toilet for leaks if the toilet has a tank, put some food coloring dye into the tank and wait 15 to 20 minutes without flushing. If the food coloring appears in the bowl, there is a leak. A property owner may have to perform a test several times. Toilet leaks can be erratic.
- Outdoor hoses
- Pipes that provide water to plumbing fixtures
- Faucets and spigots-indoors and outdoors
- Shower heads
- Water-using appliances such as clothes washers, dishwashers, and ice makers
- Irrigation systems
- Siphon back-up sump pumps
High Utility Bill
If you receive a high utility bill, the Water Department will, upon customer's request, make a courtesy visit to your residence in an effort to assist in locating a leak. This visit does not guarantee that we will locate the leak or that the Town is responsible for water loss if a leak is not found. The property owner may need to hire a plumber.
If a property owner disputes the utility bill, they may come in to a Water/Sewer Commission meeting to discuss the bill. Any requests for a discussion and possible abatement for a high utility bill MUST BE MADE WITHIN 30 DAYS OF ISSUANCE OF BILL.
No account adjustments for irrigation system leaks.
No account adjustments for unexplained water loss. If it went through the meter, the property owner is responsible for the bill.
If you have any questions or need to contact the Water & Sewer Commission for assistance, please call (413) 268-8430 or (413) 268-8402. Thank you.