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OKC encourages water use awareness during ‘Fix A Leak’ week

Post Date:03/14/2019 2:40 PM

Year after year, water customers across the U.S. are losing water to the drip, drip, drip of silent leaks from toilets, faucets and irrigation systems. Added up, these can waste up to 1 trillion gallons of water annually – about 10,000 gallons per household. Finding and fixing leaks around the home can help save customers money and protect local water supplies.

The Utilities Department wants to encourage customers to become water aware during national “Fix A Leak” week by conducting a leak test in their own households. Celebrated March 18-24, “Fix A Leak” week is a national movement promoted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program that aims to bring awareness to the water wasted from common household leaks.

“Spring is a great time for customers to look around their homes for hidden leaks, especially outdoors, where irrigation heads can be damaged due to freezing temperatures,” said City Water Conservation Specialist Malarie Gotcher. “Irrigation leaks can be difficult to find, especially if water is running underground, so run your sprinkler system before using it for the season to check for broken sprinkler heads and soggy spots in the ground.”

One key indicator of a sudden water leak is a spike in a customer’s water bill. “That’s when most people discover them,” Gotcher says. “We want to encourage people to become more water aware and check for leaks before they lead to high water bills.”

Customers who notice a sudden change in their bill or find they have a leak are encouraged to call Utilities Customer Service at (405) 297-2833 and speak with a representative to see how they can help.

To detect leaks in your own home, follow these simple tips: 

  1. Learn how much water you typically use throughout the year since water use may change from season to season. A sudden spike between months may indicate a leak.
  2. Test your toilet: Put a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. A leaking toilet can waste up to four thousand gallons of water a month. Make sure to flush after the test to avoid staining. Replace old, leaking flappers or replace the toilet with a high efficiency version.
  3. Check under sinks for drips, puddles or rust. Many under-sink leaks go undetected for months because people don’t check inside their cabinets.
  4. Turn faucets on and off and look for those that continue to drip, or for water seeping from beneath the handles. Replace washers or aerators as needed.
  5. Leaking showerheads are another water waster. Check yours to ensure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem. Even a small shower head leak can waste 500 gallons a year.
  6. Check beneath your hot water heater for pooling water, rust or other signs of leakage.
  7. Turn outdoor spigots on and off and make sure they do not drip.
  8. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, turn it on and monitor each irrigation zone for broken heads, nozzles spraying in the wrong direction or pooling water. If a sprinkler head doesn’t come on at all, it could mean you have an underground leak in a sprinkler line. Use a utility flag to mark it then call an irrigation specialist to help you get it fixed.
  9. Considering replacing a faucet or appliance? Look for the EPA’s WaterSense label, which means the appliance meets the EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance.

For more tips on common household leaks and a sprinkler check-up guide, visit the City’s water conservation website at squeezeeverydrop.com.

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Media Contact
Jennifer McClintock
(405) 297-3363
jennifer.mcclintock@okc.gov

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