Leaks

Leaks 

Reducing leakage is important to us and our customers. We have specialist teams and one of the lowest levels in the country but we need your help to find and report more leaks for us to investigate.

You can help us by reporting leaks using our online tool.

There are several tell-tale signs of a leak: 
  • Wet or damp patches in the garden during a dry spell
  • Some dirt, or air in the water
  • Some cracking in paved areas
  • Potholes or sinkholes appearing
  • A noticeable reduction in water pressure
  • Metered customers might see an unexpected increase in usage

Your pipe or ours?

We have a large network of water mains distributing water from our treatment works to the areas where people live and work. Each property is connected to a water main by a service pipe. The ownership of this pipe is divided between us and the property owner.

In most cases we are responsible for the section between the water main and the boundary of the street in which the water main is located. This section is called the communication pipe. There is usually an underground stopcock near this boundary, and there may also be a meter installed here. Both the stopcock and meter are our responsibility.

You, or your landlord, are legally responsible for the section of the service pipe from the boundary of the street to your property. This is called the supply pipe. If there is a leak on the supply pipe you are responsible for getting it repaired, although we may be able to help through our Leak Assistance Scheme. 

The diagram below shows a typical service pipe layout, with the pipe supplying a single house. If you share your supply pipe with neighbours then you also share responsiblity for fixing leaks with them. If you are unsure about which sections of pipework are your responsibility, please contact us for further advice. 

 

Graphic image of a brown house showing the pipes under the ownership of SES and the homeowner

Leaks from the pipework supplying a property, either internally or externally, are the customer's responsibility but we can still help by helping you find a suitable plumber.

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Here’s how to check for leaks:
  • Open your meter chamber (usually found in the footpath outside your home), remove the polystyrene on top of the meter and any surface water that may have collected in the chamber. A sponge usually does the trick
  • To help make sure you're looking at the correct water meter, turn the external stop tap off and turn on the tap inside the property. If no water comes out of your tap, this is your meter
  • Turn the water back on at the meter and make a note of the meter reading
  • Don't use any water for the next 30 minutes to an hour and then take a reading. If the reading has changed, this indicates water escaping from somewhere
  • To help find out where and without using any water, turn the water off at the internal stop tap. Wait 30 minutes to an hour, then take another meter reading (a change in the reading could indicate water escaping externally) If there's no change at this step it indicates water escaping internally
  • If there is no change to your water meter reading during the above checks this means no water is escaping and there are no leaks. If you see a leak in the road please report it to us

Leak Assistance Scheme

We offer a leak assistance scheme for household customers. Where there is a leak from the pipework supplying your property, either externally or internally, it is your responsibility to get this repaired. This is a legal requirement under the Water Industry Act 1991.

We offer a one-off, non-emergency leakage assistance scheme for domestic customers where we will engage our contractor, SES Home Services, to locate and fix the leak or we will subsidise the renewal of the supply pipe.  

If you are concerned your underground pipework may be leaking, please contact our Customer Services team by completing an enquiry form or by phoning 01737 772000. We will send a member of our team to investigate. If there is a leak, you will be given details of how to get it fixed. If we are able to offer a repair under the above scheme, provided there are no exceptional circumstances the repair will normally be completed within five working days.

Leak adjustment

In some instances, we will amend bills after a leak has been detected on a metered supply.

Apply for leak adjustment