Have a broken water line? Here’s what you need to know.

Has your water bill been high lately? Is there a damp or muddy spot in the yard, but the rest of the lawn is bone-dry? You may have a broken water line on your hands. Here’s what to do when faced with a broken water line – and when to call DURA.

Is the water line leak your responsibility or the city’s?

Most homeowners don’t realize that they’re responsible for the water supply pipe from the city main to the inside of the house, which includes the water service lines running through the front yard. In Denver, Denver Water maintains and replaces water mains throughout its service area, while homeowners are responsible for the service lines and meter pits at the property address. In some cases, water damage may not be covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy, so call your insurance agent to confirm.

According to Denver Water, service lines encompass all of the pipe and its fittings up to and including the stop and waste valve with an outside meter setting, and up to and including the valve at the downstream side of a meter for an inside meter setting. Service lines are owned by and installed at the expense of the homeowner.

How to tell if there’s a water line leak

Denver Water is responsible for repairing leaks on its water meters and water mains, while homeowners are responsible for service lines, which run from the main all the way into the home. The water meter is the best tool to find water leaks on a property because the meter only operates when water is flowing onto a property.

  1. Find the water meter. Generally, the water meter is somewhere off of the street and in the homeowner’s yard. In older neighborhoods, the water meter is between the street curb and sidewalk. The water meter is a round, black box with a 12-inch-round in diameter lid.
  2. Locate the water supply shut-off valve for the house, most commonly found near an outside faucet.
  3. Turn off all water appliances, outlets and faucets.
  4. Watch the gallon-calculating sweep hand on the meter, which functions similarly to the second hand on a watch. If it’s moved after 30 minutes or more, you have a leak either underground or inside. Close the main shut-off valve, and if the indicator stops, the leak is inside the property. Check toilets and faucets because these are the most common sources for leaks. If the indicator moves after the main shut-off valve is closed, there’s an underground leak between the water meter and shut-off valve.
  5. Help save water and reduce your water bill by repairing leaks as soon as possible. If you have a water bill through Denver Water, check to see if you qualify for an adjustment after having the leak repaired. Simple toilet leaks are easy to repair with the help of online tutorials. Underground water leaks are more serious and could require the help of a professional.

What to do in case of an emergency

Most leaks are easy to repair but some may require a professional’s help. Toilet and faucet leaks are relatively simple and cheap to repair, while repairing or replacing lines that run from a house to the street can cost up to $14,000. Here are some recommended steps for dealing with the problem:

– Determine the seriousness of the leak and whether you can repair it yourself or need to call a professional.
– Keep the area clean and clear of children and pets.
– Call DURA to see if you qualify for assistance. Contact the DURA office at 303-534-3872 or email to info@renewdenver.org for more information and to see if you qualify.