San Diego

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Checking for Meter Leaks

To help prevent small leaks from becoming bigger problems and to reduce water loss in the system, we need your help. Saturated soil, standing water and water flow from the water meter are signs of a possible leak. The following is provided to help you investigate small water leaks. PDF icon View a diagram to help locate your water meter.

1. Is the water leak consistent or intermittent?

  • Consistent flow of water - It may be a water leak.
  • Intermittent - It may be due to some nearby irrigation run-off or a construction project. Check around the neighborhood.

2. Locate your water meter outside of your property.
Water meter coverYour water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home or place of business in a direct line with the main outside faucet/spigot. However, the meter may also be located in an alley way behind the property. The meter is housed in a PDF icon meter box usually marked "water." The box is covered with a removable lid.

3. If possible, remove the box lid.
Please exercise caution as you do so. Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Please, do not use your fingers. Insert the tool into one of the holes and pry the lid off. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals.

4. If there is standing water inside the box, you may bail out the water to view the meter.

5. Which side of the water meter is the leak coming from?
PDF icon View the  water meter diagram.

  • Private property side - If the leak is on the property owner's side of the meter, it is the property owner's responsibility to repair the leak. You may need to hire a certified plumber. (The Public Utilities Department maintains the property side gasket/washer only).
  • City of San Diego side - If the leak is on the City's side of the meter, a City crew will repair the leak. You will not be charged for water that is leaking on the City side.

6. When you've completed your investigation of the meter, please be sure to put the lid back on the meter box.
To report a leak, a broken meterbox lid or if you need assistance with determining the source of a leak, call the Water Emergency Hotline at 619-515-3525. You may also call this phone number if you are experiencing difficulties with any of the items listed above.

See also: