Leak Detection and Repair
Reading Meters and Installing Failure Abatement Technologies
To reduce water loss, consider the following metering and leak detection methods:
Read the facility water meter during off-peak hours when all water-using equip-
ment can be turned off, and building occupants, employees, and visitors are not
using sanitary fixtures. After all water uses have been shut off, read the meter;
and then read it again an hour later. If the water meter reading significantly
changed, this indicates there may be a leak somewhere within the distribution
system or within the facility.
Read water meters and water bills monthly. Pay close attention to water me-
ter readings to ensure that they make sense and are consistent with expected
water use trends. Compare monthly water bills to the previous month and to the
same month of the previous year, keeping in mind expected seasonal water use
increases (e.g., more water in the summer months for building cooling and land-
scape irrigation). If water use is unexpectedly high, a significant leak might be
present in the distribution lines or within the facility. Install submeters on major
water-using equipment (e.g., cooling tower make-up water lines, reverse osmosis
system supply lines, and irrigation systems). See
Section 2.2: Metering and Subme-
for more information. Monitor the submeter readings to identify unexpect-
edly high water uses, which may indicate that equipment is malfunctioning or
that a leak is present.
Install failure abatement devices, or leak detection systems, on major water-using
equipment. Failure abatement devices sense if equipment is malfunctioning or
potentially leaking by detecting abnormal increases in water flow. The devices
can alert a user if an issue is detected via alarm, flashing light, phone call, or other
method, or they can automatically turn off the water supply to the equipment.
Visual and Auditory Inspection
In addition to metering, conduct visual and auditory inspections described in these
Perform a water assessment of the facility once every four years, as outlined in
Section 1.2: Water Management Planning
During a water assessment, all major
water uses will be identified and estimated. If more than 10 percent of water use
cannot be accounted for by the water assessment, the facility may have leaks in
the distribution lines or from equipment, and further investigation is warranted.
Select an irrigation professional certified through a program that has earned the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® label
to audit the
landscape irrigation system for outdoor water use leaks. All audits should be con-
ducted according to the Irrigation Association’s recommended audit guidelines.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Professional Certification Program.
Irrigation Association. Technical Resources: Irrigation Audit Guidelines.