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Water Leak Information

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Picture of Leaking North Transmission LineHow-To Videos 

Use Your Meter to Detect Leaks

Locate your meter box. It is usually by the street in either the sidewalk or parking strip. If you can't tell if a meter belongs to you or your neighbor, call Utility Billing at 503-681-6163 and they will provide a meter number that you can compare to the street meter.

A meter box looks like this:

Picture of a meter box


The meter inside will either be an "old-style" manual read meter and look like this: 

        Picture of Manual Read Meter                                 Diagram of Manual Read Meter                                   


Or it will be a new-technology Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Meter and look like this:

 Picture of Automatic Read Meter


Replacement Program

The City of Hillsboro Water Department is on a 10-year plan to replace all of the old-style "manual read" meters with Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters with radio reading capabilities.

The Hillsboro Water Department is a little over halfway with meter replacement. Some customers currently have old-style meters and some have the new style. Determining if you have a leak works the same for both meters, but the face of the meter reads differently, so both styles are addressed below:

Why the change in meters?

  • The new AMRs require less maintenance.
  • AMRs track usage more accurately.
  • AMRs are able to detect backflow (reverse flow) and continuous leaks in a customer's water service.

Both Types of Meters Detect Flow

To tell if you have a leak on your meter...

  1. Turn off all known running water inside and outside your home.
  2. Open your meter box and observe the meter.
    • If you have an old-style meter, there is a triangle flow indicator. If the triangle is spinning, even after you've turned all the water off, you have a leak.
    • If you have an AMR meter, watch the readout.  It fluctuates between "Read" (Total Gallons Consumed) and "Rate" (Amount of water flowing through meter right now).  There will always be a "Read," but if everything inside and outside is turned off, then "Rate" (of flow) should read "0,000" if you don't have a leak.  (See picture below for example of non-leaking AMR meter.)  If there is a number instead of a bunch of 0's, you have a leak.

Once you know you have a leak, you can use your shut-off valve to determine if the leak is inside the house, or outside in the service line.

  1.  Locate your shut-off valve.  Look for your shut-off valve in the following places:

    Image of a water shutoff

    • In the garage where the water line enters the wall or ceiling, near the water heater or laundry hookup
    • In the crawl space, where the water enters the home
    • Outside near the foundation, often protected by a concrete ring or clay pipe
  2. Move the shut-off valve to the "off" position.  This shuts off the flow of water into your residence.
  3. Go back out and check the meter.
  4. If the red triangle continues to spin, or the flow readout still has a number besides "0,000," the leak is somewhere outside in the service line.
  5. If shutting off flow to the house stops the red triangle, or turns the flow readout to "0,000" then the leak is inside the house. The most common leak in a house is at the toilet, so start there first.