Where is my water meter?
The water meter is located at the front of the property in the ground and covered with a metal lid. The vast majority of PGUD’s water meters are located along the front of the property. However, some are located in side or rear yards. Meters are generally located at the front of the property near the street. They may also be located in the common grassy area between the driveways if you live in a subdivision.
What is a water meter?
The sole purpose of this device is to measure a consumer’s consumption so that it can be properly billed and accounted for. Since water rates are set to ensure sufficient revenues to operate the system, it is only fair to all customers that each and every account is properly metered.
What is Automated Meter Reading?
At Poplar Grove Utility District, we use an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system. This initiative came after many months of evaluation of the various AMR technologies available.
PGUD is constantly looking for ways to improve service to its customers. The benefits of an automated meter reading system include:
- Increased employee productivity
- Reduce future meter reading costs and water loss
- Improved accuracy through the elimination of human error
- Improved customer service initiatives, including leak detection and hourly consumption history
- Provide a safer work environment for PGUD employees
- Minimize the need for monthly access to a customer’s property (PGUD will still need to access to troubleshoot, repair and/or replace a water meter)
Will my water bill go up with Automated Meter Reading?
Older meters run slower and therefore do not measure all the water going through them, particularly at lower flow rates of ¼ gallon per minute or less. The new water meter will accurately measure all the water you use. Every new meter is tested at the factory to ensure that it registers properly. If you see a high bill, it is usually not because your new meter is reading too high; it is because the old meter was running slow or you may have a small leak.
How do you know that my reading is accurate?
AMR water meters have electronic digital registers that record and verify the meter reading before it is sent to the transmitting unit. This reading is deemed more accurate than visually reading the meter because humans can drop or transpose numbers in the process of reading meters.
How do I know if higher usage may be a result from a leak in my plumbing system?
If your bill is high, be sure to check faucets for small drips and listen to toilet valves to see if they run unexpectedly. You can also check your toilet flapper valve for a leak by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank itself. If the water in the bowl changes color prior to flushing, you have a leak. It is also not uncommon to find leaks in service lines entering your home. Seek assistance from a plumbing professional or your local home improvement center to fix all such leaks.
Why is water coming out of the tube on the side or why is my water heater pressure relief valve is releasing water?
The name is Temperature Pressure Relief Valve (TPR valve). This safety valve releases water (and thus relieves pressure) if either the temperature or pressure in the tank gets too high. These valves are very important. Water heaters can become bombs if the pressure gets too high and these valves fail to work. These valves can begin to run water either because
- the valve has become defective, or
- the pressure in the tank it exceeding the relief point.
If your TPR valve suddenly started leaking when it didn’t use to, and you haven’t had any plumbing renovation work done recently, the valve may simply be defective. As the valves get older they sometimes begin to leak. It may be if it has released small amounts of water over time this water has built up deposits in the valve that begin to interfere with it closing. Or, perhaps a particle from the tank gets stuck in the seat holding it partly open. There’s a lever on the valve that lets you open it deliberately. Some people will advise you do this periodically to be sure it’s working properly. In our experience if you open an older valve it’s likely it will never close properly again – it will begin weeping when it wasn’t before.
These valves are cheap and there’s only one problem replacing them — sometimes they’re hard to unscrew. You may need a long handled wrench with a cheater. Turn off the gas or electricity and cold water supply to the tank. You only need to drain enough water to get below the level of the valve. Don’t drain a lot of water until you’ve broken the valve loose, so the weight of the water helps keep the heater from moving while you pull on the wrench. Wrap some teflon tape on the threads of the new valve when you replace it.
Note: If you also replace the discharge tube, it must be made of a material that’s rated for both high temperature and pressure. This includes most rigid wall copper, iron and, in most places, chlorinated polyvinylchloride (CPVC plastic not regular PVC) pipe. The pipe size must match the opening size of the TPR valve discharge (usually ¾ inch). It must terminate 6″-12″ above the floor, and the end cannot be threaded or have a fitting which permits connecting a plug or cap.
The other reason for the TPR valve to run water is high pressure in the water heater tank. This is usually caused by one of two things — high main water pressure or a back flow prevention/check valve.
Houses built or renovated in the past 10-20 years may have a back flow prevention valve in the water supply line. These valves only allow water to go in one direction. Building codes have begun to require them so that once water enters your house it cannot move backward into the water supply system. This introduces a new problem. When the water in the water heater tank is heated it expands, making a greater volume of water. This extra water needs somewhere to go. If all the faucets in the house are closed it can’t go that way. Before these one-way valves, water was simply pushed back out of the house into the main supply. The backflow valve prevents this, so the extra water has no place to go and pressure builds in the tank until it exceeds the TPR valve set point (about 120 psi) and water comes out the TPR discharge tube. As you may have guessed this isn’t good. The solution is to install an expansion tank in the cold water line between the backflow valve and the water heater. These tanks give the extra water a place to go. If your builder installed a backflow valve he should have also installed an expansion tank but… if you have an expansion tank it may have failed.
If the main water supply pressure is too high this can also cause the pressure to exceed the TPR valve set point. The Uniform Plumbing Code calls for water delivered to homes for domestic use at between 50 to 70 psi. Supply lines as well as appliances are designed to withstand up to 80 pounds per square inch.
If the supply pressure at your meter exceeds these numbers, a water pressure regulator should be installed to reduce the pressure to between 50 and 70 psi. Over time the rubber and metal parts in these regulators can fail. When the regulator fails, water pressure to the home may increase putting a strain on valves, hoses and appliances they were not designed to withstand. Keep in mind that a pressure regulator will also behave like a backflow valve — it will not allow water to go backward through it.
If you suspect the pressure in your water heater is too high you can buy a water pressure gauge and check it yourself.
Connect the gauge to the water heater drain faucet (garden hose thread) and open the valve. Run hot water at a kitchen or bathroom sink until the water heater turns on. Stop the flow of hot water. If the pressure starts creeping up as the heater heats the water, this is a closed system and an expansion tank is necessary.
If the pressure does not increase as the water is heated, but the pressure reads above 80 psi all the time, your supply pressure is too high. Install a pressure reducing valve. To check the supply (main) pressure you can also connect the gauge to an outdoor faucet, and turn on the faucet. Make sure the faucet is “regulated”. Some outdoor faucets are unregulated. If the pipe connected to the faucet comes out of the wall it’s probably regulated.
Why do you add chlorine to the water?
Chlorination has played the primary role in protecting America’s drinking water since the early 1900’s and is responsible for a large part of the 50 percent increase in life expectancy in this century. This simple disinfection process combined with filtration led Life magazine to conclude that the water purification process as it was refined in the 20th century was “probably the most significant public health advance of the millennium.”
In 1850, John Snow used chlorine to attempt disinfection in London water supplies after an outbreak of cholera. Sims Woodhead used “bleach solution” in 1897 as a temporary measure to sterilize potable water distribution mains at Maidstone, Kent (England) following a typhoid outbreak.
After dramatic reduction in typhoid deaths in Great Britain, Jersey City, N.J., adopted chlorination in 1908. Other cities across the US soon followed suit and resulted in the virtual elimination of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and hepatitis A. Prior to the chlorination of drinking water, water borne pathogens killed about 25 out of 100,000 people in the US annually, a death rate that approximates that associated with automobile accidents today.
Is bottled water safer than tap water?
Although many consumers believe bottled water is safer than tap water, this is not generally the case. A recent study revealed that a large percentage of bottled water is simply tap water in a bottle sold at a 100 to 1,000 times the price. For example, a typical gallon jug of bottled water ranges from $0.99 to $4 compared to just over half a cent for a gallon of PGUD tap water.
The quality of bottled water can also greatly vary depending on its source, production process, packaging material, and shelf-life before use. Until 1993, there were no proposed federal standards for bottled water and in many states it was unregulated. It wasn’t until 1996 that bottled water was required to meet many of the same regulations as tap water.
Do I need a home water filter?
No. Independent agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) have determined home water treatment devices are not necessary for health reasons as long as the water supplier meets state and federal requirements. Rest assured PGUD maintains compliance with regulated drinking water standards
Why is my water discolored when I first turn it on?
If your water appears discolored when you turn it on, there are several causes. It is possible that sediments from the main line were stirred up by some pressure or flow event in the system or it could come from older galvanized iron pipe in your home plumbing system. Please run your faucet for a few minutes to see if it will clear, it usually takes a few minutes for fresh water from PGUD’s water main to reach your faucet. If it doesn’t clear or the problem is recurring, please call PGUD to investigate.
What are the white particles collection in my faucet strainer and shower head?
The particles may be a sign that the fill tube in your hot water tank is deteriorating. If so, white particles (which may have a bluish tint) will show up in strainers in various locations in your house–washing machine, kitchen faucet, and shower head. These particles are plastic and will float on water and melt when heated at high temperatures. Most water heater companies will replace the fill tubes because they were flawed. Check the name of your tank, and call the company for instructions.
Why does my water have a “milky” appearance?
The milky color is really air in your lines. If the milky appearance begins to disappear from your water starting at the bottom of a glass of water and clears by rising to the top of the glass within 1 to 2 minutes then your water is safe. Air in the water can be caused by different things. If PGUD or you have water turned off to repair a leak or some other reason, then that will cause air to appear in the water. Another event that causes air or oxygen in the water is the temperature of the water PGUD is treating. If the water is cold, it heats up a little when entering the water glass allowing the release of any trapped air. This is similar to boiling water on the stove. As the water is heating up, the air bubbles start appearing.
What is a cross-connection?
Any physical or potential connection between a potable water supply and a hazardous material or one of questionable quality is a cross-connection. There shall be no such connection without the installation of an approved backflow prevention assembly in accordance to the degree of hazard of the substance involved.
What is a backflow?
Backflow is the undesirable reversal of flow of non-potable water or other substances through a cross-connection and into the piping of a public water system or consumer’s potable water system. There are two types of backflow- back pressure and back siphonage.
What is back pressure?
Back pressure backflow is backflow caused by a downstream pressure that is greater than the upstream or supply pressure in a public water system or consumer’s drinking water system. Back pressure can result from an increase in downstream pressure, a reduction in the potable water supply pressure, or a combination of both. Increases in downstream pressure can be created by pumps, temperature increases in boilers, etc. Reductions in potable water supply pressure occur whenever the amount of water being used exceeds that amount of water being supplied, such as during water line flushing, fire fighting, or breaks in water mains.
What is back siphonage?
Back siphonage is backflow caused by a negative pressure in a public water system or consumer’s potable water system. The effect is similar to drinking water through a straw. Back siphonage can occur when there is a stoppage of water supply due to nearby fire fighting, a break in a water main, etc.
Why be concerned about backflow?
Backflow will occur when the water pressure in the public water supply is lost, reduced, or if the customer’s water pressure becomes greater than the public supply. Depending on the type of cross connections that exist, contaminates can flow back into the customer’s water system and eventually into the public water supply. In addition to disease and illness, death can result when drinking water becomes contaminated by chemicals such as lead, cyanide, caustics and arsenic compounds. Pesticides and herbicides used widely in the home have also caused death via cross connections. Identifying potential hazards associated with cross connections, and eliminating or protecting against them is the concern of Hallsdale-Powell Utility District and the local public health agencies. Because almost all water systems have cross connections, the water system personnel must maintain a constant vigil for their detection and elimination.
How can backflow be prevented?
By installing a PGUD approved backflow preventer mechanism to prevent backflow. The basic means of preventing backflow is an air gap, which either eliminates a cross-connection or provides a barrier to backflow. The basic mechanism for preventing backflow is a mechanical backflow preventer, which provides a physical barrier to backflow. The principal types of mechanical backflow preventers are the reduced-pressure principle assembly and the double check valve assembly.
Why must backflow preventers be tested at least once annually?
Backflow preventers must be tested annually since they have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. The annual test is also a measure to make sure that proper backflow protection is being utilized. Hallsdale-Powell Utility District (PGUD) will have a contractor test each backflow according to the state guidelines. If the backflow preventor fails the annual test the customer will be repsonsible for having the proper repairs made. PGUD can provide an approved list of backflow testing companies, after a formal request by the customer, to conduct a re-test once the repairs are complete.
What is the most common form of a cross connection?
Ironically, the ordinary garden hose is the most common offender, as it can be easily connected to the potable water supply and used for a variety of potentially dangerous applications.
What is the common difference between pollution and contamination?
Pollution of the water supply does not constitute an actual health hazard, although the quality of the water is impaired with respect to taste, odor, or utility. Contamination of the water supply, however, does constitute an actual health hazard; the consumer being subjected to potentially lethal water-borne disease or illness.
My pipes are making noises, what is the problem?
It could be a loose pipe, faulty toilet or a faulty irrigation valve. The problem could also be ours. It would be prudent to give us a call and we can check our system first.
How can I keep my pipes from freezing in cold weather?
The best thing to do is wrap any pipes that are exposed. Another suggestion is to let water run in a sink in a small amount. This will keep water moving and thus prevent freezing during severe cold.
What is an Easement?
Definition of Easement – the right to use the real property of another for a specific purpose. The easement is itself a real property interest, but legal title to the underlying land is retained by the original owner for all other purposes. Common easements include the right to pass across the property, the right to construct and maintain a roadway across the property, the right to construct a utility or pipeline under the land, or a power line over the land.
Why does PGUD acquire easements?
Whenever possible, PGUD installs water or sewer lines on private property and not on road right-of-ways to help eliminate relocation expenses in the future and for safety reasons.
What if PGUD has a leak on my property or under my driveway?
PGUD will repair the leak and any damage, including paved or concrete driveways.
How wide is a typical waterline easement?
PGUD’s typical easement width requirement is 15 feet. This leaves room for maintenance and repair.
Will this easement be recorded?
Yes, PGUD will record the notarized easement at the County Register’s. PGUD has several Notaries on staff for your convenience. This easement will stay with the land in perpetuity, for all subsequent owners.
I live on the other side of the road from the new water line. Can I still get water?
Yes, you can. You must pay for a tap and road crossing. When PGUD sets your meter, it will be your responsibility to run the water line from the meter to your house.
How to Check for a Leak?
Using a crayon, mark over the red sweep hand on the face of your meter. Do not use water for 2-hours (make sure ice maker is off). Re-read the meter, if reading has changed in 2-hours, you have a leak.
Things you can check:
- Running toilet
- Dripping faucets
- Check yard (meter to house)… and soft or greener areas
- Water lines under house
How does PGUD choose the route of the water and/or gas lines?
PGUD not only analyzes the geographical characteristics of the route, but also considers many other factors such as public utilities, sinkholes, ponds, trees, cemeteries and other improvements along the route. Ultimately, the final route chosen is the path that minimizes the disturbance of private property and is the most financially feasible.
When and where are Backflow Prevention Devices required?
Approved Backflow Prevention Devices are required at certain Commercial and Residential service connections according to the Districts Cross Connection Plan. This Plan requires that all customers consult PGUD Cross Connection Coordinator before all new meter sets and before making any change to existing plumbing. Free literature and consulting is provided to all customers. Please call our office.
Can I build my driveway over easement? And can I drive over easement?
Yes, you may build your driveway over it, although the easement area must be kept clear of all buildings, structures or other obstructions. Operating vehicles or heavy equipment over the easement will not affect the line if the depth is enough not to cause damage to the line.