Water leaks frequently asked questions

Leaks At Your Home

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.

High water bills may also be due to frequent watering of a new or existing lawn or landscape, a faulty irrigation timer, filling a swimming pool, an increase in the number of occupants or employees in a household or business, water theft, open faucets or irrigation systems.

  • Check your meter. Your reading should be a bit higher than what is shown on your bill, because you have been using water since we have issued your bill.
  • Second, review your bi-monthly statements to compare your usage to the same time last year. Look at the difference in usage, not just the total monthly amount.

Also consider the following causes that may increase your bill: 

  • Irrigation or outdoor watering
  • Seasonal changes, such as summer heat
  • New appliance
  • Added bathroom
  • Toilet leaks
  • Spending more time at home 

More water-saving strategies

  • Visit the WaterSmart Center 
  • Request a free Do-It-Yourself Home Survey Kit. 
  • Additional questions on water use? After completing the Home Survey Kit, you can contact EBMUD to request an on-site audit. An EBMUD Water Conservation Representative will come out to discuss your indoor and outdoor water use and provide recommendations. Please complete the Home Survey Kit before requesting an on-site water audit. Email: custsvc@ebmud.com or call 1-866-403-2683. 

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

Call the Customer Contact Center at 1-866-403-2683.

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.

Water leaks can be caused by ground movement, pipe corrosion, soil conditions, age, or damage by contractors working underground.

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

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.

Once EBMUD receives notice about a leak in the street, we: 

  • Dispatch an investigator to the location of the leak. EBMUD investigators will control the leak to reduce the risk to public safety, and private and public property by finding and closing valves to isolate the leaking water main. Investigators do their best to respond within one hour, but higher priority leaks may take precedence.
  • Contact other utilities to make sure that EBMUD crews can dig safely without damaging other utility lines or endangering the public.
  • Locate the leak location using electronic or manual sounding devices to find the origin of the leak and we will determine if the leak is from an EBMUD pipe.
  • Repair the water main. Depending on the type of break, we may apply a repair clamp or replace a section of the pipe.
  • Open valves to turn the water main back on, flush the water main and sample water quality.
  • Backfill to temporarily resurface the excavated area. 
  • Return to permanently resurface the excavated area.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.