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Water Meter FAQ's

I’ve just received my water bill and the usage seems unusually high.  What could this be from?

There are a number of reasons why your water usage could be high, among them:

  1. Outdoor Watering.  Often times, water usage increases dramatically during the warmer months because residents/business owners are watering lawns, gardens, washing cars, etc.
  2. Leakage or Malfunctioning Appliance.  You may have a leak in your plumbing system or a malfunctioning appliance.  A leaking toilet or malfunctioning water softener can use thousands of gallons over the course of a month.
  3. Prior Estimates.  If your meter didn’t read through the electronic process, the Utility Clerk will enter an estimate into your account. If your actual usage is significantly higher or lower than the estimate, your next bill (based on an actual reading) will reflect this difference and could be substantially higher or lower. 
  4. Filling a Swimming Pool.  If you’ve recently filled a swimming pool, obviously your usage will be higher this month.
  5. Flooding an Ice Rink.  Another unusual occurrence that would give you a high usage.


How can I find out if I have a leak? 

Turn off all water taps inside and outside your home/business.  Record the meter reading and return in two to three hours to check for movement.  If the meter reading has changed, you may have a leak.  Common sources of leaks are a running toilet, a dripping faucet, a loose or dripping washer connection, water softeners, and sprinkler systems.  A silent toilet leak can waste from 30 to 500 gallons of water per day.  A toilet leak you can hear will waste much more.  To test your toilet for a leak put some food dye in the tank and then leave for 15 minutes.  When you return, look into your bowl to see if there is now dye color in there.  If there is color, or if you already can hear or see water running in the bowl, it’s time for repairs.


What about my meter?  Could it be malfunctioning?

It is possible, but highly unlikely that your meter is malfunctioning.  If a meter does malfunction it tends to under report the amount of water used or stop running altogether.  The City has tested meters in the past and has not yet found one that over reported the amount of water used.


Can I get my meter tested?

Yes, you can get your meter tested, but you will need to pay a deposit.  The deposit of $100 covers the cost of making the test.  Loretto City Code Section 410:30 Subd. 5 addresses water meter testing:

Complaints; Meter Testing.  When a consumer complains that the bill for any past service period is excessive, the city shall have the meter reread upon request of the owner or occupant.  If the consumer remains dissatisfied, the consumer may request in writing that the city test the meter.  The written request for testing must be accompanied by a deposit in an amount equal to the cost of making the test (including staff time).  If the test shows the meter over reads the amount of water consumed by five percent or more, the deposit shall be refunded, an accurate meter shall be installed, and the bill shall be adjusted accordingly.  Such adjustment shall not extend back more than one service period from the date of the written request.  The minimum charge shall not be affected.  If the test shows an accurate measurement of water, the amount deposited shall be retained by the city to cover the expenses of making the test.  If the test shows that the meter under reads the amount of water consumed, the amount deposited shall be retained by the city to cover the costs of making the test and an accurate meter shall be installed.


If you would like the City to test your meter please fill out and submit the form Water Meter FAQ's found under Helpful Info/Forms (scroll down to the bottom of the list of forms.)  You must include a deposit check for $100 at the time you submit your request.  The City will call you to set up a time to pick up your meter.


Please call City Hall at 763-479-4305, or email mschneider@ci.loretto.mn.us if you have any questions.