Water Leaks Frequently Asked Questions

Leaks At Your Home

What is EBMUD's responsibility regarding repairing leaks at a water meter?
EBMUD is responsible for the repair of leaks on the street side of the meter and for repairing the meter itself, including the threads on the customer's side of the meter. Any pipe repairs on the customer's side of the meter are the customer's responsibility. EBMUD is not able to provide recommendations for specific plumbers or advise you about specific repairs for your home.

I have a high bill, but can't find a leak. What's going on?
High water bills may also be caused by frequent watering of a new or existing lawn or landscaping; a faulty irrigation timer; filling a swimming pool; an increase in the number of occupants or employees in a household or business; water theft; and open faucets or irrigation systems. Here are some tips:

  • Go to the EBMUD WaterSmart Center for water-saving tips and information about EBMUD WaterSmart programs.
  • Request that a free Do-It-Yourself Home Survey Kit be sent to your service address. The Home Survey Kit can help you find and fix leaks and check water flow rates. When you return the survey form included in the kit, EBMUD will send you low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and other water-saving devices, free of charge.
  • If you need additional assistance after completing the Home Survey Kit, you can schedule a free water survey for your home. An EBMUD Water Conservation Representative will come out to discuss your current indoor and outdoor water usage and offer suggestions on how you can save water. You must complete the Home Survey Kit before receiving an on-site water survey. Email: custsvc@ebmud.com or phone toll free: 1-866-40-EBMUD (1-866-403-2683).

Are there organizations that can help me with minor home repairs?
Yes. Alameda County Housing and Community Development provides relief for minor plumbing repairs for customers in Alameda, Albany, Emeryville, Hayward, Oakland, Piedmont, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and some unincorporated areas. Call 510-670-5398 or visit their website at www.acgov.org/cda/nps/.

Leaks In The Street

What number do I call to report a water leak in the street?
Call the Customer Contact Center at 1-866-403-2683.

What types of leaks will EBMUD repair?
EBMUD repairs leaks to its water meters and water mains. Leaks on the customer's side of the meter, including the pipe between the meter and the building, the irrigation system, or indoor plumbing, are the responsibility of the customer.

What causes water leaks in the street?
Water leaks can be caused by ground movement, pipe corrosion, soil conditions, age, or damage by contractors working underground.

Does EBMUD repair leaks to sewer lines?
No, EBMUD only repairs water mains. Cities, counties, and property owners maintain sewer pipelines and are responsible for repairing these leaks.

What is EBMUD's responsibility regarding repairing leaks at a water meter?
EBMUD is responsible for repairing leaks on the street side of the meter and on the meter itself, including the meter threads on the customer's side of the meter. Any pipe repairs on the customer's side of the meter are the responsibility of the customer.

What happens after a water leak is reported to EBMUD?
The EBMUD representative dispatches an investigator to the leak location. EBMUD investigators do their best to respond within one hour, but higher priority leaks may take precedence. During the investigation, our representative may use electronic or manual sounding devices to find the origin of the leak and will determine if the leak is from an EBMUD pipe.

Will my water be turned off when the repair crew works on the water lines?
In some cases, it may be necessary to turn your water off while repairs are underway. EBMUD crews will attempt to notify neighbors if a shutdown is planned, but for most emergencies crews must work quickly to repair the pipe, and are unable to notify affected customers.

How are leaks scheduled for repairs?
Leak repairs are prioritized based on many factors including the severity of the leak, public safety and/or the environment, probability of property damage, unsafe traffic conditions, or other issues specific to the situation. Large leaks causing water outages and those that might impact public safety/environment or cause property damage are typically repaired as soon as possible. Staff is available 24 hours a day to make emergency repairs. If the leak is small, the repair order is held to allow for notification of customers and other utilities and to schedule the work. The Underground Service Alert requires 48 hours notice for planned repairs to allow cities and agencies to locate and mark their utilities such as gas, electricity, sewer, etc.

How long will repairs take?
The majority of pipeline repairs can be completed in six hours or less. Larger jobs may require more time.

How late/early will EBMUD work to repair a leak?
EBMUD responds to emergencies and conducts emergency maintenance repairs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. Non-emergency planned maintenance is typically scheduled during normal business hours. Sometimes, non-emergency work may be done after hours to minimize traffic, business, or other concerns.

If my neighbor has a leak on his/her property, should I call EBMUD?
First contact your neighbor and inform them about their leak. If you are not able to talk with them and feel the leak may cause damage to your property or the property of others, then call EBMUD and ask that your neighbor's meter be turned off. If it is determined that the leak is severe or may cause damage, and your neighbor is unaware of the leak or cannot be contacted, EBMUD will turn off the water and leave a note informing the neighbor of the action taken.

How does EBMUD protect creeks and other waterways from the disinfection chemicals in the leaking water?
EBMUD uses chloramine, a mix of chlorine and ammonia, to disinfect its drinking water. Chloramines are necessary for delivering water that is safe for humans, but they are not good for fish. EBMUD uses fabric mats with treatment tablets to remove chloramine from the water released from pipe breaks and broken hydrants before it reaches storm drains, nearby streams or the Bay.

For More Information

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer Contact Center at 1-866-403-2683 or at custsvc@ebmud.com.