Is your central heating system dropping pressure? You might have a hidden leak!

How to report a water leak in your area

Water leaks can wreak havoc on a local community if not found and fixed early on. If not caught early enough, water leaks can cause the development of mould, electrical and plumbing damage, and even structural issues to surrounding buildings! That is why it is vital that you are aware of how to report a water leak in the street to the correct authority, before it causes too much damage.

In this article, we are going to run through what exactly a water leak is, what causes them, and how to go about reporting one if you spot one.

What is a water leak?

There are two different locations for water leaks: on private land and on public land. A water leak in a public area is where water is escaping from a pipe in a location that is publicly accessible and not confined to private property. Public areas can include streets, pathways, parks, or any other spaces that are open to the general public. 

A leak on private land is a water leak that occurs on land owned by an individual or family, rather than by the council. These leaks can occur both inside and outside of a property, but will always fall within the property boundaries. 

Water leaks in public areas can cause potential problems to a large number of people and may have broader consequences for public safety and infrastructure. However, residential leaks can be incredibly stressful for the property owner, and can cause damage to their homes and surrounding land.

Luckily, water leaks are usually easy to identify, regardless of whether they are in a private or public space. As a result, this can lead to faster responses from authorities which is crucial to avoiding safety concerns such as slips and damage.

What can cause a water leak?

There are a number of different reasons that pipes can leak, including both natural and infrastructural causes. Harsh weather, especially freezing temperatures, can lead to burst pipes on both public and private land. As well as this, the weight of vehicles driving on public roads can contribute to wear and tear of underground pipes, potentially leading to leaks.

The age and condition of both public and private pipes are influential factors in increasing the likelihood of leaks. Ageing and deterioration of pipes over time may weaken their structure, making them more prone to developing leaks.

This shows the importance of regular monitoring and maintenance of pipework and water systems to identify and address potential issues quickly and efficiently.

Who is responsible for dealing with water leaks?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for dealing with leaks, and who to report a water leak to. 

A general rule of thumb is that leaks on public land, for example a leak in the road or pavement, will be from pipes owned by water utility companies, such as Thames Water and Wessex Water. In this case, it is their responsibility to locate and fix the leak, as well as pay for the repairs.

If the leak is outside of your home but within your property’s boundaries, for example on a driveway or in a back garden, the responsibility for addressing and funding the repairs typically falls on the property owner. However, water companies are generally willing to provide assistance with the repairs. 

A leak inside your home is likely to be on your internal plumbing. These leaks are your responsibility, so you will need to contact a qualified plumber to fix the leaks. If you can’t locate a leak, contact a specialist leak detection company (like us) to find and fix the leak for you!

How to identify a leak in a public space

The first step in repairing a leak is to identify one. Leaks in the home are quite easy to spot, however leaks in a public space could be slightly less obvious. One of the most apparent signs is the presence of visible water on the ground’s surface. Pools of water or wet spots may indicate a leak from underground pipes. Additionally, the sound of water running or flowing where it shouldn’t be can also suggest a leak.

Another indicator of a potential leak is pavement discoloration. Dark or stained areas on the road or pavement may have resulted from water seeping through cracks or joints. 

Unexpected settling or erosion on the ground surface may also point to a water leak. Leaks can erode the soil beneath the road, causing structural issues and uneven surfaces. Residents or businesses in the area may also experience lower-than-usual water pressure, indicating a leak in the water supply system.

How to report a water leak?

As we have already mentioned, if you have an internal leak within your home, contact your local plumber to get it fixed. In the case of external or public property leaks though, you may not know the process of reporting one. 

The easiest way to report a water leak is to contact your local water company, either online or over the phone. Before contacting the water company, check online to see whether this leak has already been reported. Most water companies have a ‘leak map’ on their website, which pinpoints the location of any water leaks in the area.

If the leak hasn’t been reported, it would be useful to have as much information about the leak as possible, ready to inform the water company. For example: 

  • The location of the leak 
  • How much is it leaking? (For example, is it just a trickle? A steady flow? Or is it fast flowing?)
  • How long has it been leaking?
  • Is it causing a hazard? (Such as blocking a pavement or causing a flood) 
  • Your contact details 

This information will help the company to locate the leak and prioritise the resources available to repair it.

What happens once a leak has been reported?

Once a leak has been reported, the responsibility is handed over to the water company. Usually, a representative will visit the area and inspect the leak to discover what has caused the issue and how much water is escaping.

Leaks are prioritised based on how much water is being lost, the impact on the building owners or the public, and the amount of damage that is being caused by the leak.

Urgent leaks, such as those causing health and safety hazards or flood damage, will be addressed as quickly as possible, usually within two hours of the report. Serious leaks, where a significant amount of water is being lost, but it isn’t posing a threat or affecting the water supply, will be seen within 24 hours. Other leaks which are less serious will be addressed within three days.

When repairs have begun, the water supply to the area may need to be turned off, and the road may even need to be dug up. Residents will be informed before any work begins, and the company will ensure the area is safe for the public and the workers.

Once the leak has been repaired, the water supply will be turned back on and the surface – whether it’s a road, path, or green space – will be restored as quickly as possible. Most companies aim to get everything running as normal within 3 to 5 working days.

How Harmuns can help

If you have an internal leak, and your plumber is unable to locate it, give us a call

We will send an experienced, gas-safe engineer to your home to detect and repair the leak as quickly and efficiently as possible. We use different types of detection equipment, such as moisture metres, thermal imaging, acoustics and trace-gas systems to find the leak and fix the problem.

You may not need our services right now, but you could in the future. Save our number now to prevent future panic: 01753 378569.

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About Harmuns

We are a specialist non-invasive pipe and water leak detection company here to fix your problems. We find hidden leaks on central heating systems, water mains and hot & cold water supply within the property.

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We are not an emergency plumber. If you have a visible leak, please contact your local plumber.