Leak repair awareness campaign focuses on saving money, conserving water

DAVENPORT — Iowa American Water is leveraging the nationwide awareness campaign taking place during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Fix a Leak Week to advance local wise-water use goals as well as provide a savings to homeowners, property owners and businesses.

The annual Fix a Leak Week is a campaign organized by the EPA’s WaterSource program, and is being observed this week. The national campaign helps to raise awareness about small leaks and other water issues that may waste water within homes. Iowa American Water is taking the campaign one step further to emphasize the impact individuals and businesses can make by spending a little time being vigilant and making repairs.

“For Iowa American Water, this week is about empowering people when it comes to saving water, time and, ultimately, money,” said Randy Moore, president of Iowa American Water. “Step one is making them aware – that ‘little’ drip in the downstairs utility sink can contribute to thousands of gallons of water lost in a year. Step two is providing the motivation – a small investment of time and a few dollars can end the waste and make a significant impact on your water bill. Step three is the empowerment – teaching people to detect leaks and the best way to repair them without incurring hefty plumber bills. If each homeowner in our service communities does their part, we’re not talking just a drop in the bucket.”

According to the EPA, the average residence in the U.S. loses 10,000 gallons of water per year through seemingly minor leaks. With more than 110 million households in the U.S., this equates to more than one trillion gallons of water lost every year due to leaks in the home. Moreover, it is estimated that the average homeowner can reduce his or her water bills by 10 percent simply by addressing leaks.

“Most people may not realize that even the smallest leaks can waste thousands of gallons per year,” Moore said. A shower head losing 10 drips per minute ends up wasting 500 gallons of water in the course of a year – you could run 60 loads of dishes through the dishwasher with that amount of water. For the customers we serve in Iowa, fixing household leaks means saving approximately millions of gallons of water collectively in one year. Fortunately, most common leaks are easily detectable and correctable.”

On an institutional level, Iowa American Water is committed to fixing leaks by replacing or upgrading water infrastructure in order to provide clean, safe, reliable water to customers, investing about $16 million in infrastructure improvements annually.

Iowa American Water also offers these starter tips for detecting leaks:

– Assess your water usage during a colder month. If a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons during this month, there is at least one – or more likely several – serious leaks.

– Check your water meter at the start and end of a two-hour period during which no water is being used (i.e. when no one is home). If the meter changes, there most likely is a leak.

– Place a drop of food coloring in your toilet tank and see if the water in the bowl changes colors within 10 minutes. If so, you have a leak.

– At least once a season – and especially after extreme temperature changes – check faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for surface leaks, indicated by water on the exterior of the pipes.

A downloadable leak detection kit also is available through American Water’s website, www.amwater.com.