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What to Do if You Have a Leak

Unfortunately, for most people the first sign of a leak is a high water bill. If your bill is higher than usual, or if you see a pattern of steadily increasing bills for several months, you should check to see if you have a leak.

First, check your current meter reading against the reading shown on your current bill. (If you don’t know where your meter is located, please call the office – we’ll be happy to assist you with finding it!) Open the meter box lid, flip up the meter face cover, and look at the meter register – it will resemble a car odometer. Read all of the numbers from left to right, including the stationary zero on the face of the meter. The reading on the meter should be higher than the “current reading” on your bill. If the reading on your meter is lower than the current reading on your bill, please call us at once.

When you have verified your meter reading, look at the leak indicator – a small red triangle on the face of the meter. If you are not using any water – i.e., all faucets are closed, and no appliances like a dishwasher or clothes washer are in operation – the triangle should not turn. If it is turning, this is a sure sign that you have a leak. If it is spinning fast, you have a serious leak that requires immediate attention, and you should repair the leak as soon as possible. Please note: Water Department personnel cannot diagnose or repair leaks. If you are unable to repair the leak yourself, you need to engage the services of a plumber.

If the leak indicator shows a repeating pattern of turning slowly, stopping, then turning slowly again, you may have a small leak or a leaky toilet flapper valve. While these problems may seem small, they too require prompt attention to keep them from getting worse.

Turning Off Your Water in the Event of an Emergency

If you experience a broken pipe, you should first turn off your water supply at your private shutoff valve. If you do not have a private shutoff valve, or don’t know where it is located, you may turn off your water at your meter in an emergency situation. To turn your water off at the meter:

  • Open the meter box lid. In some cases, you may need to remove the lid completely.
  • On the street side of the meter, you will see the shutoff valve. The valve will be in a three o’clock (3:00) position (please refer to the photos below). To shut off the water, turn the top part of the valve to the 3:15 position. If the valve is closed properly, the two holes in the valve flanges will line up, and your leak indicator will stop spinning.

Street Side

Hersey Meter - Valve Open

Street Side

Hersey Meter - Valve Closed

Street Side

Neptune Meter - Valve Closed

 Neptune Meter - Valuve Closed

Street Side
Neptune Meter - Valve Open

 Neptune Meter - Valve Open


If you are unable to operate the valve, do not try to force it. Call the office, and we will dispatch a technician to your house to assist you.

IMPORTANT: If you do not have a private shutoff valve, you should have one installed as soon as possible. The North Carolina plumbing code requires that each dwelling have its own shutoff.