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Water Leak Status/Tracking


                                                                DATE/TIME REPORTED



12/18/2014 8:13:00 PM 



12/19/2014 6:56:00 AM 


*Updated once daily, Monday-Friday (except holidays)

**Noted on this Web page (above) are only service line leaks              

Contact Information
To report a water leak, please call the city’s Utility Services Division at (505) 891-5020 or e-mail () between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. For after-hours emergency leak reporting, please call (505) 975-1581.

There are three categories of repair needs: water main line breaks, service line leaks, and meter leaks.
  • A water main line break is the first priority for repair crews because this type of leak impacts a customer’s water service, generates the most water loss, and can cause water-related damages.
  • The service line leak is the most common type of leak that occurs in the city. A service line leak can range from a leak that is bubbling out of the ground very slowly and creating a puddle of water, to one that is running strong enough to cause roadway damage and is creating a large stream of water in the roadway.
                                                 Example of main line break

                                        picture of major water leak in roadway

                                                  Example of service line break

                                         picture of minor roadway leak

    • Meter leaks are typically caused by fittings becoming loose from the meter or the meter itself is leaking. Meter leaks can be seasonal due to freezing temperatures. Most meter leaks are repaired after water main line breaks and service line leaks unless the customer does not have water.

    Water main line break
    Personnel shall respond immediately to the reported main break to evaluate the extent of the break and expedite repair work. Personnel shall isolate the water main so that no further damage will be caused and further water loss will not occur. Please be advised that in some instances, loss of water service in the area near the main break may occur until the main is repaired.

    The city contacts emergency utility line spotters so that all utilities (telecommunications, power, gas, etc.) in the roadway can be marked in the area prior to the area being dug up (emergency line spotters are allowed two hours to spot their lines before crews can start excavation/repair work). Barricades are brought in if the roadway needs to be closed.

    Service line leaks
    Personnel shall respond to each reported service leak to identify if the leak is the city’s responsibility or that of the customer. The city has the responsibility to repair the water service from the water main to the water meter. It is the customer’s responsibility to contact a repair company and have work performed if the leak is on the customer side of the water meter (a notice will be left on a customer’s front door if the leak in question is their responsibility to repair).

    A safety cone shall be placed on or near the leak to identify that it has been checked by personnel and placed on the city’s list to be repaired.

    The city contacts utility line spotters (marking for utilities such as telecommunications, power, gas, etc.), which is done for all leaks as required by state law. All utilities are allowed two days to spot their lines before the city’s repair crews can work on a non-emergency repair.

    All leaks reported to the city are prioritized. The leak(s) that are the most severe will be addressed by crews first followed by those with the lower severity. If multiple leaks have the same severity, leaks are repaired in the order in which they were reported to the city. However, if a service line leak has occurred in the roadway, these are typically addressed before yard leaks in order to minimize damage to the roadway and reduce traffic-related issues.  Also, repairs on less severe leaks may be pushed out due to the presence of higher priority leaks and the number of leaks occurring at one time (e.g. summer peak period for leaks).

    There are times when a water service line will have a leak repaired, and then later a new leak in a different spot(s) on the same line occurs. In these cases the crew will make a repair on the same line. It is the city’s goal to replace a water service line that has been repaired three (3) or more times.

    Meter Leaks
    These types of leaks are not given the highest priority unless a customer does not have water service. If the leak is found to be the customer’s responsibility, the city will inform the customer by contacting them at home, or by leaving a notice on their front door stating the status of the leak and who is responsible for its repair.

    Roadway Patching/Paving Following Leak Repair
    Once a water leak or main break has been reported, crews will create a work order for the repair and street paving repair if needed. The street repairs are typically contracted out for repair and are fixed once the spotters from other utility entities have marked their lines and wires. The weather and number of other repairs pending to be made will impact the time it takes for work to take place.

    Based on current staffing and available resources, the city’s goals related to all leaks are:
    • Repair 90 percent of all leaks within three days in order to minimize water loss.
    • Ensure the safety of the property and repair crew.
    • Ensure quality customer service takes place.
    • Leave the premises in the same manner as it was before repair work took place.

    Additional Information

    The service line leak is the most common type of leak that occurs in the city. These leaks occur in part due to the material the line is made of which is polyethylene. Polyethylene was used extensively in Rio Rancho by builders and developers for a period of time decades ago due to the high price of copper, which had been the standard material to use for water service lines.

    It has been discovered since the inception of its use that the polyethylene line material loses it flexibility properties over time and becomes very brittle. Because of the normal, minor pressure changes that the water system goes through in a day, the polyethylene line develops cracks that allow the water to leak.

    A majority of leaks occur each year during the summer months. This is because as the water system has a greater demand on it for irrigation and the pressure varies more this creates more cracking of the lines. For example, in December 2011 there were less than 12 service line repairs due to leaks, and in July 2012 there 110 service line repairs due to leaks.

    The city recognizes that all polyethylene service lines need to be replaced since they will all eventually fail and leak.  A portion of the water/wastewater utility rate increases that went into effect in February 2013 and are scheduled to go into effect through 2016 is being dedicated to proactively replace these lines before they fail.  As the city is able to do this, the number of leaks and amount of water being lost will be reduced, and customers will experience less service disruptions.
    *Approximately $1 million in Capital Outlay money was provided by the New Mexico Legislature during their 2013 session that will be used to replace lines.  The 2014 New Mexico Legislature has approved $1.4 million of Capital Outlay money for line replacement.