Who owns the leak?

Responsibility for water leaks

If you suspect your bill is high, this might be because there is a water leak inside or outside the residence. Your bill is based upon the water volume recorded by the meter. So, any leak downstream of the meter is part of the recorded and billed water consumption at your meter. If there’s a leak on your side of the meter, it’s your responsibility to find and fix the leak.

Any leak upstream of the meter, before your measurement of water consumption, is the responsibility of the water company – for us, its Onalaska Water and Gas.

If there’s a problem with the water meter itself, this is the water company’s responsibility as well.

If the leak is due to a damaged water pipe, or if the pipe bursts, responsibility for fixing it depends on which section of the pipe is damaged.

  • Upstream of the meter – it’s the Water Company’s responsibility to fix
  • Downstream of the meter – it’s the responsibility of the homeowner

How to spot water leaks

It’s possible you may have a water leak if:

  • If you turn off all water usage (faucets, toilets, washing machine) in the dwelling – AND - the Red Gear on the meter is still turning.
  • you hear the sound of running water inside or outside the dwelling
    • dripping or running faucets
    • running or leaking toilet valves
  • you see running water or wet areas
  • you see a lot of plants growing near the service piping, especially during dry weather
  • the water pressure in your home falls

What if you rent your home or your supply pipe serves several properties?

If you rent your home, your landlord is responsible for maintaining the supply pipe downstream of the meter.

If your supply pipe serves other properties, this may therefore mean you share the responsibility with others.

How can Onalaska Water and Gas help?

Under the Approved Tariff agreement. OWG can provide the following services at a cost when requested by a homeowner:

  • A callout for a site inspection to determine leak responsibility
  • A shutoff service by request – if you are not in the area, with your request, we can shut off your water service (and turn back on later).
  • Meter testing to assure accuracy