Water Leaks or Faults
Logan City Council recently adopted a new Concealed Leak Remission Policy. The following frequently asked questions provides information regarding the policy changes.
When will the new policy come into effect?
The new 'Concealed Leak Remission' policy will take effect from 1 July 2015.
What is the policy objective?
To provide criteria by which applications can be considered, assessed and processed to allow partial financial relief from water consumption charges that have arisen as a result of a proven concealed leak.
What is the policy scope?
This policy applies to:
- All owner occupied residential properties with a Logan City Council metered water service, where the owner has had a concealed leak repaired by a licensed plumber;
- All Designated Fire Services installed solely for purpose of fire-fighting, where a concealed leak in the Designated Fire Service has occurred and has been repaired by a licensed plumber.
What's changing for Residential (owner occupied) properties?
The current policy provides a 50% remission on both Council and the state bulk water components of the water consumption charges. Under the new policy Council will apply 100% remission of the Council water consumption charge over and above normal usage only (this is the difference between your average water consumption and actual water consumption during the leak). There will be no remission on the bulk water component.
What's changing for Residential (Pensioner) properties?
The current policy provides up to 75% remission on both Council and the state bulk water components of the water consumption charges. Under the new policy Council will apply 100% remission of the Council water consumption charge over and above normal usage only (this is the difference between your average water consumption and actual water consumption during the leak). There will be no remission on the bulk water component.
What's changing for Residential (non-owner occupied eg. tenanted) properties?
The current policy provides a 50% remission on both Council and the state bulk water components of the water consumption charges. Under the new policy no remission will be applied to non-owner occupied properties. These properties no longer meet the eligibility criteria and therefore are not able to make a claim under this policy.
What's changing for Non-residential, Multi-residential and all other categories of properties not listed?
The current policy provides a 50% remission on both Council and the state bulk water components of the water consumption charges. Under the new policy no remission will be applied to non-residential, multi-residential and all other categories of properties not listed. These properties no longer meet the eligibility criteria and therefore are not able to make a claim under this policy.
What's changing for concealed leaks in designated fire services?
There is no change for this category. The water consumption charge will be reduced from the designated fire service rate per kilolitre to the normal domestic rate per kilolitre for the amount of consumption charged on the designated fire service water meter.
Why are there these changes to the policy?
Council can no longer financially sustain providing a remission to customers to the same level as we have in the past. Ultimately the community as a whole bears the burden of concealed leak remissions as funding remissions places pressure on water prices.
Is there any change to how often I can lodge a concealed leak application?
Yes, under the current policy you are able to lodge one application every 12 months. Under the new policy Council will accept lodgement of an application only every 3 years.
Can I replace a previously approved concealed leak remission if I have experienced a larger leak?
No, consideration should be given as to whether the amount of water loss is significant prior to making an application. If approval has already been granted for a minor leak an application for a major leak within 3 years would be declined.
Why won't Council provide a remission on the state bulk water charge?
Council does not receive any remission from the State Government in relation to concealed leaks and can no longer sustain providing a remission to our customers for this component of their water consumption charge.
Why isn't Council applying a remission for non-residential and/or non-owner occupied residential properties?
Council can no longer financially sustain providing a remission to customers who fall into this category. Ultimately the community as a whole bears the burden of concealed leak remissions as funding remissions places pressure on water prices. Owners of Non Residential and Non owner occupied residential properties may be able to claim a deduction from the ATO which to some extent may offset the financial impact of a concealed leak.
Can I claim a concealed leak remission if I have leaking tap washers, hot water service, faulty float valves, water tanks or swimming pools etc?
No, exclusion for these types of leaks exists under the current policy and remains the same for the new policy.
If the leak is in the hot water system, garden tap etc will Council consider a leak remission application if the leak was 'concealed' or the property owner was not aware of its existence?
No, the leak must have occurred in the property water supply line to be eligible for a remission under this policy.
If I am no longer eligible to claim, is there something else that I can make a claim against?
No, all water consumption charges are the responsibility of the property owner, regardless of the manner in which the water is consumed.
How will you manage transition arrangements from the current policy to the new policy?
Processing of applications against the revised policy will be determined by the date a concealed leak was repaired. Officers will be required to exercise some discretion to determine which policy should apply to a concealed leak application as we approach July 2015. For example, this may occur due to situations where a leak is discovered in the final days of June 2015 and a repair wasn't able to occur until early July 2015.
I am in financial hardship and unable to pay for this extra water. What help can you provide?
If you are unable to pay your rates (including your water and wastewater charges) at any time please contact Rates Enquiries on 07 3412 5230 to discuss payment options.
An arrangement to pay by instalments is available and will enable you to make regular payments on your account over a specified period of time. Such an arrangement must meet certain requirements and these will be explained to you if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity.
It should be noted that at any time you fail to pay your rate account, Council will undertake necessary recovery action in order to gain settlement of the outstanding amount. This may involve legal action or the sale of the property.
Will you cut off my water if I don't pay?
For health and safety reasons Council will not cut off your water. Council will take all steps available to investigate reasons for non-payment and will offer the account holder payment options.
Council is responsible for water leaks from the supply system up to (and including) the water meter. Water leaks that occur from water pipes and fittings on your side of the water meter are the responsibility of the property owner.
Water leaks on public property
Council is responsible for water leaks from the supply system up to (and including) the water meter. If you notice a leak on public property, such as water leaking on the road or a burst water main, please contact Council as soon as possible to report it, as Council is responsible for fixing it.
Water leaks on private property
Water leaks that occur from water pipes and fittings on your side of the water meter are the responsibility of the property owner.
Leaking pipes, toilets and taps can waste a lot of water, leading to high water bills. For example, a tap that drips once every second will waste up to 33 litres a day. Leaks can also cause structural damage to your property and even attract termites. Checking for leaks regularly and repairing them quickly is a simple way to save water and money.
Checking for concealed leaks on your property
Concealed leaks caused by broken or cracked pipes on the customer's side of the water meter are the responsibility of the property owner. Follow these guidelines to catch leaks early:
- Check your property for visible water leaks from taps, toilets, showers and irrigation systems.
- Turn off all taps, water appliances and irrigation at your property.
- Read the water meter and record the reading. Leave the water meter tap on. View Council's Water Meters and Water Leaks fact sheet (PDF 381 KB) for assistance in how to read your meter.
- Wait at least one hour before reading your water meter again - remember not to use any water, even to flush the toilet.
- If the reading has changed there could be a water leak. Contact a licensed plumber to find and repair the leak. Many leaks occur under the ground and can be difficult to find.
Checking for toilet cistern leaks
It's easy to diagnose a substantial leak in your toilet - the faint sound of the toilet cistern constantly replenishing is a good indicator.
So, what about a slow leak? Slow leaks from the toilet cistern are common and can easily be checked by using food colouring. Follow these steps to determine whether you have a slow leak:
- Remove the lid of the toilet cistern.
- Drop about 4 to 5 food colouring drops in the toilet cistern. A dark colour such as blue or red is a better option.
- Replace the toilet cistern lid and wait for 20 to 30 minutes. Do not flush the toilet during this time.
- Check the toilet bowl, if the water is clear, there is no leak. If the water has changed colour, there is a leak present.
- Repeat the process with all toilets in the house, if applicable. This is very important to see if the issue is coming from one specific toilet or happening in multiple toilets.
- IMPORTANT: Flush as soon as the test has been completed as food colouring may stain the cistern.
We recommend that you regularly check for leaks using these simple steps.
Preventing leaks in your home could save you money. Here are some simple ways to prevent leaks:
- Take care not to plant large trees over pipes and mains that run through your property as their root growth may damage the pipes.
- Root growth can also cause cracks and leaks in your pool. Please speak to your local nursery about suitable plants.
- Inspect your pool regularly for cracks and signs of leaks.
- Ensure automatic watering systems (e.g. pool top up, irrigation) are regularly maintained and checked for leaks.
- Turn taps off gently to help lengthen the life of washers.
- If you have a water hammer problem, install water hammer arrestors. By reducing shock, these help extend the life of affected pipes.
- Ensure all building and renovation work is undertaken by a licensed professional.
Concealed Leak Policy and application
If you have had a concealed leak on your property repaired by a licensed plumber, you may be eligible for a reduction in high consumption charges as a result of the leak. Your application will be assessed in accordance with the eligibility criteria as set out in Council's Concealed Leak Remission Policy (2015/2016) (PDF 136 KB). If you meet all of the eligibility criteria, please complete a Concealed Leak Remission Application (PDF 161 KB)
Prior to making an application for a remission due to a concealed leak, consideration should be given as to whether the amount of water lost is significant. Approval is granted for only one remission every 3 years therefore if approval has already been granted for a minor leak an application for a major leak within 3 years would be declined.