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Question DetailsAsked on 4/27/2016

what is cost for repairing leaking water line connected to my water meter, my bill is 20 times usual monthly cost

I have called City of Houston Water and they say it is my responsibility. I have a leak but it seems to be at the water meter. The meter is under water and each time the plumber cleared the water out, it came back immediately. I noticed there had been some digging done right above my meter. My neighbors had some work done and I believe this is the results. I got my water bill yesterday and it was 20 times the usual monthly statements. The city said I probably has leaks in my toilet or faucets and that is not true.

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You will have to decide if this is the neighbor's fault or not - if so, and they will not pay to get it fixed (get in writing that they agree to the repair estimate and better yet have the plumber deal with THEM for payment), then maybe file a claim with their insurance company - for repair and water cost.

There will be a shutoff on the "city" side of the meter - sometimes right in front of it in same pit or box - sometimes no handle - just a small inline valve with tab that turns, like the group of photos here -

Sometimes, especially in deep frost areas, the meter may be at or in the house and the shutoff (though may be one in the meter box too) will be at the street boundary - commonly at or in the sidewalk, or about 5-10 feet back from the edge of street in no-sidewalk areas. In that case, while plumber can turn it off in some jurisdictions, usually the water utility has to turn it off. Then the plumber fixes the leak at the meter, then you call utility to turn the water back on.

Since the meter is running high, leak is definitely in the meter housing or on your side of the meter. Should be real easy to run your hand around and feel where the water is coming out if it refills right after bailing - or use wet and dry shop vac to keep dry while looking for where the water is running/spraying.

Whether the meter (if that is what is leaking) is your problem or the city's depends on local regs - generally, anything their side of the shutoff valve, including the shutoff valve closest the street, is their responsibility - everything your side of the shutoff (including street pit valve if any) is usually your responsibility. Some draw the line at the meter instead, with the meter belonging to them and everything your side of it being your problem.

Be sure to have plumber document the leak and wastage was at the meter box (etc) and also if it was due to physical damage from digging as proof against the neighbor possiblyi paying for it - i.e. a statement that it was a leak there, NOT a leak or running toilet or such in the house.

Most water companies will credit back at least some of the wasted water charge if you get a leak fixed soon aftear it is identified - would usually need a plumber's statement or invoice with YOUR address (regardless of who paid for it) regarding what caused the leak or what component was leaking and that it was repaired on X date.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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