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Leak Detection

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According to the U.S. EPA, the average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. If you feel your water use is high, use the online customer water use portal , AquaHawk, to compare your current water use to your past usage and check for common leaks. Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. Some leaks you can easily fix yourself.

Checking for leaks

Customer water use portal: Sign up for AquaHawk, the City's new online customer water use portal to view your hourly water consumption, manage your water usage and set and customize alert setting. For tips on using AquaHawk to assist in finding leaks, download the Using AquaHawk to Assist in Finding Leaks PDF.

Water meter box: Check your meter box for pooling water. Standing water inside the box often indicates there is a leak.

Irrigation systems: Standing water or areas of consistently moist soil can indicate an irrigation or Watersense sprinklerservice line leak. Check the sprinkler head at the lowest elevation of the yard, pooling water can indicate an irrigation valve leak.

Indoor pipes: If you hear water running in your home, but don’t have a tap turned on, you may have a leaky pipe. Hot water is the most common indoor leak, check your natural gas bill to see if there are spikes in usage.

Toilets: Put two-three drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If after 15 minutes the coloring has dripped into the bowl without flushing, you have a toilet flapper valve leak.

Faucets and showerheads: Check kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms for dripping fixtures. If you have consistent drips or streams, you need to tighten your taps. If that does not work, you may have a leak.

Water usage on utility bills: If the water usage on your utility bill is higher than average, you may have a leak in your home or on your property.

Request a water consumption check: The Public Works Utilities and Operations (PWUO) Department provides water consumption checks free of charge. To request a check for your property, email or call 757-5686. PWUO staff will check for continuous use at the meter and contact you with their findings. PWUO staff will only check the meter and city infrastructure; any leaks on the customer side of the meter are the customer’s responsibility. At this time, the response time on consumption checks is much longer than normal, and no anticipated time frame for completion can be provided due to limited staffing and City office closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


7 Ways to Find a Leak 

April 29, 2014 Fix-a-Leak Water Conservation Presentation

EPA Fix-a-Leak Information

What is a hundred cubic foot (CCF)?


Leak Losses (larger leaks can occur)

Type of Leak
leak size
annual loss
Dripping Faucet
18,500 gallons
Running Toilet
1/4 gallon per minute 131,400 gallons
Leaking Pipe
1 gallon per minute
525,600 gallons