Letter: Water Leak Experience You Need To Be Aware Of

A little over a week ago, I received a call from city hall to inform me that my water usage had increased over 600%, from less than 2,000 gallons per month to over 12,000 gallons. I immediately checked for leaks and could not find any except for what I thought was a small trickle in my two toilets. I received my water bill a couple of days later. As it turned out, one toilet had a cracked flush control mechanism which needed to be replaced and the other had a warped flush seal.

I had been advised a couple of weeks earlier, by a water department employee who had replaced my water meter, that I might have a leak and that I should check the toilets. I was warned that a toilet leak could use a lot of water. I don’t know whether the city was replacing water meters throughout the city or whether they had noticed my increased water consumption and decided it might be the result of a defective meter. At any rate, they were alert enough to identify a possible leak and were helpful enough to advise me. I immediately called a plumber and got the problems repaired.

I was informed that the city has a policy which allows for a one time a year adjustment of a water bill when something like this happens. I was hoping that the large water bill for the current month would be reduced to my average water consumption for the year, billed at the standard rate. That would have been less than $16. I was actually billed $91. The amount that would have been charged, based on standard rates would have been $129.44. The amount which I was actually billed was the result of approximately a 50% special discounted price vs. the rate which could have been applied based on the standard rate schedule ( $0.76 per hundred gallons for the next 10,000 gallons in excess of the first 1,500 gallons billed at an $0.84 per hundred gallon rate).

Believe me, I was happy the leak was detected by the city and I appreciate the 50% reduced rate for the 10,500 gallons used above my normal usage. Imagine the harm to a family budget if leaks continue to go undetected, due to an outdoor water hose left turned on or a broken sprinkler line, or toilet leaks!

My experience made me wonder how many people in the city might be facing similar situations- This is truly money down the drain!

It goes without saying that it is a good idea to closely monitor your water usage each month and investigate any unusual increase that you may find. Such an unexpected expense for the month is a total waste of water and money.

I am sharing my story with you to alert you to the unexpected consequences of a simple leaking toilet and the very high cost of failure to detect it and fix it quickly. I hope this does not happen to you.

Charles Braly