# True story

Gold Member

## Main Question or Discussion Point

At a time when there was a hose pipe ban, a person down the village noticed water gushing up from her lawn, she called severn trent (the local water authority and they told her ( it is not our problem it is a natural spring) for 5 weeks this lady watched her lawn being washed down the drain, eventually severn trent dug up the goop only to find an uncharted water main, the moral, well she would have been fined if she was caught watering her lawn which had been washed away.

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## Answers and Replies

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org
J77

It's a joke - Thames water lose around 1000 million litres a day!

(source: bbc 2005)

Danger
Gold Member
She should sue the water authority for replacement lawn costs.

Gold Member
Danger said:
She should sue the water authority for replacement lawn costs.
:rofl: :rofl: can you sue a god ?

wolram said:
:rofl: :rofl: can you sue a god ?
You can if you're Billy Connelly in a suit.

I guess, if the water main was uncharted, it may not have ever been adopted, so it could have been the lady's main. Taking the perspective that a main is just a huge pipe... a kind of... big hose, if you will, then clearly the lady was in breach of the law. Personally, I'd have thrown the book at her, though that would be also be against the law.

Danger
Gold Member
If this was indeed 'her own' main, she certainly wouldn't have called Severn Trent to investigate its leakage. She would have contacted whoever did the initial illegal hookup into the town supply (which would have been quite a feat of subterfuge on its own). It's more likely that the water authority screwed up in their record-keeping and lost track of where all of their pipes were.

Evo
Mentor
Who pays for fixing it and any damage depends on which side of the meter the leak is on (at least here in the US)

A few years ago the water main to my house broke and started a river which found it's way to my basement window well and was flooding the basement. I called the water company and asked them to send a man out to shut off the water to my house. They said the break was on MY side of the meter, so it wasn't considered an emergency and they'd send someone out the next day.

So my basement continued flooding until the next morning when the water guy came out, I had to pay $800 for a new water main and then I got a bill from the water company for$200 for all the water that flooded my basement because they refused to shut the water off.

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Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Evo said:
They said the break was on MY side of the meter, so it wasn't considered and emergency and they'd send someone out the next day.
But pay that bill 5 min late and they'll be right over to shut off the water.

Evo
Mentor
Moonbear said:
But pay that bill 5 min late and they'll be right over to shut off the water.
:rofl: No kidding!

Danger
Gold Member
A good point, Evo. How often, however, does the meter come into play before the line reaches the house (excluding commercial uses)?

Evo
Mentor
Danger said:
A good point, Evo. How often, however, does the meter come into play before the line reaches the house (excluding commercial uses)?
The meter is usually near the street, since it is in the easement. I have a large yard, so 99% of the distance to the house is on my side.

But I'm not sure what you're asking?

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Evo said:
The meter is usually near the street, since it is in the easement. I have a large yard, so 99% of the distance to the house is on my side.

But I'm not sure what you're asking?
Hmm...that's different than places I've lived. The meter was always inside the house, usually with a window to read it from the outside, or in my last house, they switched over to something read electronically so nobody ever had to physically come to the property to do a reading, but it was still located inside the house with a radio transmitter thingy outside.

Evo
Mentor
Moonbear said:
Hmm...that's different than places I've lived. The meter was always inside the house, usually with a window to read it from the outside, or in my last house, they switched over to something read electronically so nobody ever had to physically come to the property to do a reading, but it was still located inside the house with a radio transmitter thingy outside.
Really? I've always seen them in the ground with that metal plate over them.

Danger
Gold Member
The set-up that you describe, Evo, sounds like the way a commercial installation is done here (schools, factories, etc.). Our residential meters are internal to the house, as Moonbear described. So what I was asking is basically how the hell could it be considered her responsibility if a 5" pipe blows under her lawn? It obviously isn't coming from her house. The only way that it could be her fault, as I alluded to earlier, is if she had someone trench down and illegally connect to the other main outside of her meter zone. Not easy to do in a residential neighbourhood, without being noticed.

Evo
Mentor
Danger said:
The set-up that you describe, Evo, sounds like the way a commercial installation is done here (schools, factories, etc.). Our residential meters are internal to the house, as Moonbear described. So what I was asking is basically how the hell could it be considered her responsibility if a 5" pipe blows under her lawn? It obviously isn't coming from her house. The only way that it could be her fault, as I alluded to earlier, is if she had someone trench down and illegally connect to the other main outside of her meter zone. Not easy to do in a residential neighbourhood, without being noticed.
Odd, I've lived in 7 states, and the water meter was always in the easement, near the street, underground, under a metal plate that reads "water meter". The only meters I've ever seen on/near the house were electric and gas.

Danger
Gold Member
The closest that we have to that is our sewer system. It's our responsibility as soon as it crosses the property line.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Evo said:
Odd, I've lived in 7 states, and the water meter was always in the easement, near the street, underground, under a metal plate that reads "water meter". The only meters I've ever seen on/near the house were electric and gas.
Were they all warm climates? Maybe it's a difference between the north and south so the water meter and shut offs remain accessible from inside the house when pipes freeze for those of us in colder climates?

Danger
Gold Member
Good reasoning, MB. I would tend to suspect, however, that it's just the greediness of some municipalities and/or utility companies. (I don't know how it works in the US; here the city owns and operates the water/sewer system.) The closer the meter is to the street, the less maintenance costs for the company, while it has no effect on the amount of purchased water.

Evo
Mentor
Moonbear said:
Were they all warm climates? Maybe it's a difference between the north and south so the water meter and shut offs remain accessible from inside the house when pipes freeze for those of us in colder climates?
I've lived in New York, PA, IL, MD & Washington DC. I have a water shut off valve inside the house, so I can shut off water from coming in, but only the water company can shut off water "to" the house from the outside.

Again, I've only lived in new homes, maybe it's the difference between older homes and new homes?

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Evo said:
I've lived in New York, PA, IL, MD & Washington DC. I have a water shut off valve inside the house, so I can shut off water from coming in, but only the water company can shut off water "to" the house from the outside.
There's a shut-off at the street too, but not the meter where I've lived.

Again, I've only lived in new homes, maybe it's the difference between older homes and new homes?
Maybe. All the houses I've lived in were built circa 1960. Come to think of it, in my current home, I have no clue where the water meter is...it's a townhouse built only a year ago. I just assumed it was on the end of the unit somewhere that I don't really walk or look or care, but who knows? But since I rent, I don't worry about who owns which pipes; none of them are my responsibility.

Averagesupernova
Gold Member
Evo said:
Who pays for fixing it and any damage depends on which side of the meter the leak is on (at least here in the US)

A few years ago the water main to my house broke and started a river which found it's way to my basement window well and was flooding the basement. I called the water company and asked them to send a man out to shut off the water to my house. They said the break was on MY side of the meter, so it wasn't considered an emergency and they'd send someone out the next day.

So my basement continued flooding until the next morning when the water guy came out, I had to pay $800 for a new water main and then I got a bill from the water company for$200 for all the water that flooded my basement because they refused to shut the water off.
I have to ask how easy it was to turn the water off? Who installed the pipe from the meter to the house? Was it the water dept? And how did they know whose side of the meter it was on while on the phone?

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Averagesupernova said:
I have to ask how easy it was to turn the water off?
It takes 2 seconds to turn it off once they show up with their really long-handled wrench thingamajig that reaches down the hole to the shut-off at the street.

Danger
Gold Member
Or quicker, with the judicious application of a shaped charge.

Gold Member
Danger said:
If this was indeed 'her own' main, she certainly wouldn't have called Severn Trent to investigate its leakage. She would have contacted whoever did the initial illegal hookup into the town supply (which would have been quite a feat of subterfuge on its own). It's more likely that the water authority screwed up in their record-keeping and lost track of where all of their pipes were.
You got it Danger, it seems that water main was not on any map.

We do not have water meters in the UK, not around here any way, we just get charged a huge sum if we use water or not, the water board can even charge for a spring on your own land, the only free water is rain.

Danger
Gold Member
wolram said:
the water board can even charge for a spring on your own land
What the ****?!! What the hell ever happened to mineral rights? Or is that just a North American concept? Here, any land that you own goes to the centre of the earth; you therefore also own anything contained therein.
As a case in point: If anyone 'angle drills' to get at an oil deposit under your property, he's in serious **** if you chose to prosecute.
In my case, of course, I would amputate his drill rig at the property line and sell it for surplus to another company.

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