DALLAS — Late this summer, I was invited to witness an impressive geyser, we will call it “New Faithful.” Apparently, it was exploding to life every time my irrigation system turned on. A neighbor alerted me to the impressive gusher, which had sprung forth from a busted head on a heavy-duty sprinkler in my front yard.
We have touched on this before, but it deserves a reminder because we can all have leaks that spill a lot of water.
The city of Dallas also had one. We just found out about that from kayaker Alexander Neal via a TikTok. Neal recently posted a video announcing, “This morning in Dallas, Texas I went kayaking on a crystal clear swamp… a gaping hole here I call Dallas’ Blue Hole”.
Neal paddled through chlorinated wetlands created by a water main mega-leak in the Great Trinity Forest that the city had known about since at least last October. But according to WFAA’s reporting, “Neal and other water resource specialists believe it's been leaking millions of gallons for years."
My rupture was nowhere near that bad. Still, Dallas Water Utilities says one broken sprinkler head can spew 20 gallons per minute. Multiply that times weekly watering days, and in a month (or certainly if it lasts for more than one month) it gets significant.
Reversing bloated water bills after a leak
If you catch it, fix it, keep your receipts, and file for a refund… many water utilities will compare your increased usage to your regular water consumption and will refund you for that surge in your water bill. The utility in Dallas will adjust your bloated bill retroactively for up to three months. But you can only get that benefit once a year in Dallas.
Here is more information and an application for the program in Dallas.
If you are in another utility district, contact them and ask if they have a program like this one… many of them do. Regardless, you want to catch a problem like this as early as possible.
Inside the house, check the pipes under your sink by looking at them or touching them periodically to make sure they are not wet. Also, make sure your faucets do not drip when they are turned off. You should listen to your toilet for a few minutes as well, to make sure that it does not periodically top itself off because of a leak.
Additionally, you can check your water meter outside to make sure it is not moving when all faucets are off. And look outside every now and then to make sure your irrigation sprinklers have not become geysers.