By Water Board Regulations in the City of Buffalo, the water service line from the main in the street up to and including the piping leading to the house is owned by the property owner. This is considered to be a private line from the city’s water main to the house. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the water line and keep it in good repair.
The homeowner is responsible for the water service box and shut off valve. The service box and valve must be maintained and kept in good condition and the water service valve must be accessible for operation by the water department personnel. The water department will install new covers and replace broken bolts when the work does not require the excavation of cement or blacktop. The charge for this service is for the cost of material only and will be billed to the water account for the property. (See rate chart for costs)
During the summer months water personnel perform routine maintenance on the fire hydrants. The hydrants are operated to make sure that they are working properly. The water department also flushes sections of the water mains to remove the build up of sediment in the pipe to improve the flow for better fire protection and to improve water quality and pressures. While the hydrants are being flushed you may temporarily experience low water pressure and discolored water from the sediment that was in the pipe. If this happens run your cold-water faucet in the basement laundry tub or faucet closest to the incoming service for 15-20 minutes and this should clear up this problem. If this does not take care of the problem, you can call our 24-hour emergency number at 851-4747 for assistance.
In your house, there should be a water shut off valve that turns off the water to the whole house. This valve is located in the water pipe that comes up from the floor or through the wall in the front part of the basement closest to the street. If you do not have a basement and have a crawl space instead, the shut off valve is usually near the front part of the house or where the water line comes up from the ground. Most houses have an access panel outside, or a trap door in the floor to access this valve. If the water shut off valve does not hold or the valve is broken and needs to be replaced to make the necessary repairs, you can call our dispatch office at 851-4747 to schedule a time for a service turn off crew to meet you on location and turn off your water at the service box near the street. There will be a nominal charge to cover the cost of our service crews to operate this valve. (See rate chart for costs)
If the house will be vacant for an extended period of time, or vacant during the winter months without heat, it is a good idea to have the water shut off at the curb valve to prevent freezing or potential flooding. If the property owner is unable to be on location when the water is shut off or if the service crew is unable to verify that the water is off completely, the property owner should make sure that the water is off completely in the house. The water pipes should be drained throughout the house to prevent frozen and burst pipes that will cause flooding or water damage.
Property owners wishing not to incur water and sewer minimum charges on a vacant property that has a meter should contact the customer service office and request that their meter be removed and the service turned off. The property owner will be required to complete a Notice of Request to Discontinue Water Service, provide proof of identity by way of a valid state ID or valid state driver’s license and pay the applicable fee. The process of termination of service and account inactivation cannot be completed until (1) the meter located at the property has been removed from the property, (2) the outside shut-off valve has been turned off, (3) the fee for termination paid in full and (4) all outstanding balances are paid in full. Property owners will continue to receive billings until all requirements are met. You may initiate this process in person or via fax to our Exchange Street location only.
When the water is shut off for scheduled repair work to the water mains, valves or hydrants, written notices are delivered in advance of the shut down to all the houses that will be affected or you may be notified through the media. Unfortunately there are times when a broken water main forces us to perform an emergency shut down without prior notice. In the event of a water main break, the main must be shut down quickly to minimize the flooding of property, or further damage to the area. Whenever possible, the repair crew on sight will walk house to house to notify affected customers about the service interruption and information about the repairs. Most routine repair work can be completed and service restored within 3-4 hours, although some more involved repairs can take longer to complete.
By Water Board Regulations in the City of Buffalo, the water service line from the main in the street up to and including the piping leading to the house is owned by the property owner. This is considered to be a private line from the city’s water main to the house. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the water line and keep it in good repair. The service box and valve must also be maintained and kept in good condition and the water service valve must be accessible for operation by the water department personnel. The majority of service line failures occur on older galvanized lines that are buried and have deteriorated due to age. Due to the deteriorated condition of these older lines the service valve may not be able to handle the normal operation of the shut off valve and may start to leak. If a leak occurs following the operation of the shut off valve, the homeowner must engage a licensed plumber to repair the defective valve.
If you hear the sound of water running and no one is using water in the house, it could mean that you have a leak on the buried service line leading to your home. Start by checking that there are no toilets leaking. You can check this by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the dye shows up in the bowl. If you have a water meter you can also check the small red indicator on the dial to see if any water is going through the meter. If you still believe that you have no internal leaks, you can call our 24-hour emergency number and a service crew will come to your property to “sound” your water service to help you to determine where the leak may be. There may be a leak on the city water main that is not showing above ground, and getting away in the sewer that could be the cause of the load sound. The service crew will be able to make that determination.