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 Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: VST_WINSTON_GA (GA)

I own a home that is rarely used. Because it is vacant over 90% of the year, my typical water usage is 0. A leak was recently discovered after the water bill, with no one living in the home, suddenly went from 0 gallons used to 18500 gallons used. It was maybe three weeks at most between the time of the last meter reading and when I had the water company come out and shut the water off, but my inspection of the property prior to calling the water company showed no plainly visible location of the leak. After I had the water company turn of the water to the house, I called a Plumbing coming to come and locate the leak and repair it. What they found was a minor repair where a fitting at the customer shut off valve was faulty and had to be replaced.

Following this repair, I received a bill from the water company for 723200 gallons of water use. Based on the less than three weeks between the previous meter reading and when the water company turned off the water, this would be over 40000 gallons per day.

Is it possible for a faulting fitting to allow over 40000 gallons per day water loss?
Even if that line was completely severed at the meter, is it possible for 40000 gallons per day to flow through the standard pipe coming out of a residential water meter?

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: packy (MA)

if my math is correct..
1 cubic foot of water = 7.48 gallons..
723200 gallons = 96684 cu ft.

a 50 x 20 x 6 ft deep swimming pool would hold 6000 cu ft of water.
so the amount of water you used would fill fifteen 50 x 20 x 6 swimming pools.
'nuff said...
just so you know, the little town i live in (rockport ma) charges for water..
10.23 per 1000 gallons water charge
14.74 per 1000 gallons sewer charge

so 24.97 combined water and sewer..

723.2 units of 1000 gallon each

723.2 x $24.97 = $18,058.30

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: sum (FL)

I can think of one way to determine a "maximum" flow rate.

First, hook up a garden hose to the bib next to your shutoff valve, don't attach a nozzle, just turn it on full and time how long it takes to completely fill a five gallon bucket. Do it two to three times and get an average. You can calculate a gallon per minute flow rate from that. See if that number multiply by 60 minutes by 24 hours comes to compared to their consumption rate.

Have you considered the possibility of a neighbor stealing water from your house while vacant? Connected a long garden hose from your bib to fill their pool or have a car wash party all week long?

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: VST_WINSTON_GA (GA)

packy (MA)

Thanks for the math lesson. I can use all the ammunition I can get against the water company. Hard for me to accept that this is not an equipment problem with their meter.

I don't know anything about flow rates so I'm hoping someone can help me understand if 723200 gallons in less than 3 weeks is even possible on a fully blown line, much less on a line that only needed a fitting replaced. Your swimming pool analogy is eye opening.

In any case I appreciate the info and glad I don’t live in Rockport. Sounds like I'd have to sell my first born to afford water. :)

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: VST_WINSTON_GA (GA)

sum (FL)

I'll try that flow rate assessment. Thanks. Seems simple enough.

While the house is in a small neighborhood with properties spread out, it's possible the neighbors or some visitors have been poaching. It's never happened in the six years that I've owned the house, and seems odd that it would have happened right at the time that a leak was found, but certainly anything's possible.

Thanks again.

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: hj (AZ)

They may NOT have found ALL the leaks, just the most obvious one.

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

Too late now of course, but I always shut off the water at the meter or just inside the house at the master water shutoff when the property is not going to be occupied for an extended time. It isn't hard to do and gives peace of mind in case a washing machine hose breaks or something else happens like you had. That might be something to start doing. If you don't have an easy to get to master water shutoff it can be added fairly easily.

Have you talked to the water dept about this? They can look at the water usage at that property and see something outlandish happened. They can often make adjustments, even for wasted water due to a leak. They should remove the sewer charge if the leaked water didn't go down the drain, was lost outside. But with that much water shouldn't you now have a lake right there?

A friend of mine got a crazy water bill one time, turned out that the meter reader has misread it and turned in the wrong numbers. When the computer calculated the difference between this month and last month's reading it was way too much. He called, they did another meter reading and sent a corrected bill.



Edited 2 times.

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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: sum (FL)

To convert the numbers to something easier to relate.

Three weeks = 3weeks * 7days/week * 24hours/day * 60 minutes/hour = 30,240 minutes

So 723,200 gallons over 30240 minutes = 23.9 GPM (gallons per minute)

A typical shower is about 2.5GPM. So that consumption of 723200 gallons over 3 weeks is kind of like ten people taking showers at the sane time for three weeks.

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 Thank you all for your input :clap:
Author: VST_WINSTON_GA (GA)

Thank you all for you input. The water meter is now fixed at it's last reading so no evidence of continued leaks.
My thoughts also that there should be a small river running along the property where all this water went.
Going forward, definitely turning the water off from the customer shut off valve. So happens that's where the leak occurred.

After I use sum (FL) process for calculating my flow rate, if the numbers don't add up, I'll call the water company in to check the meter.

Preparing for an up hill battle.



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 Re: Water company shows 40000+ gal per day water loss
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

You appear to be doing it correctly. Just be sure your math is correct when you present it to the water authority.

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 Re: Thank you all for your input :clap:
Author: dcplumber (CA)

Water meters do go bad....I work for a local school district and at one site I received the bill for over 10,000,000 gallons of water being used in a month. The city was not budging with it's billing, so I did what was suggested, the math(facts). The meter in question was a 2" meter serving only a very small portion of the campus. I proved my case by indicating the pipe size, the static water pressure and what the total demand was in fixture units. The math did not add up. The city came back out and rechecked their meter and found it was circa 1960's and after disassembly they deemed the meter was not working properly and we negotiated a fair and reasonable cost from past invoices and a new water meter.

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 Re: Thank you all for your input :clap:
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

In our area we can request the electric company to check your electric meter for accuracy, if it is bad they replace it and adjust past bills, if the meter is ok we pay a fee of about $150 for the test. Maybe the water utility has the same option to check the accuracy of a customer water meter.

Instead of a meter error this looks more like a goofy billing software error, like you'd get if the reading wrapped around and started back at zero, causing the usage to get computed as negative when last month's and this month's readings are subtracted. I'm for blaming it on the billing computer - and if the water department did make a mistake they will blame it on the computer also.



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