Frequently Asked Questions
To learn more, please select a question from the list below or scroll down the page.
- Why do I have a spike in my water consumption?
- How do I read my Radio-Frequency water meter?
- How can I tell if there is a leak by looking at my water meter?
- The watermain was redone on my street last winter. Who will restore my lawn and when?
- I had a repair done to my curb box and they had to dig up my lawn. When can I expect the lawn to be fixed?
- My meter is leaking. What can WUC do for me?
- There is water in my front yard. Who do I contact?
- How can I stop my water billing if the house is vacant?
- There is spray paint along the street/sidewalk. What does this mean?
- What is my water hardness?
- What chemicals are added to water for the treatment process?
- There is a rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide) odour coming from my bathroom water. What is wrong with it?
- How often is chlorine added and how often is it monitored?
- My water tastes like a swimming pool! Can you turn down the chlorine?
- Is my tap water safe to drink?
- My water has an earthy, musty odour. Is it safe to drink?
- My water is grey in colour and cloudy. Should I drink it?
- I have low water pressure? How can I fix it?
- I want to dig some fence postholes in my yard. Will the region locate my water service for free?
- What is Corrosion Control?
Why do I have a spike in my water consumption?
The number one reason for high water consumption is due to a toilet that is not working properly. A running toilet can add $100-$200 to your water bill annually if not remedied and can waste 30,000 to 60,000 gallons of water per year. Many people are under the assumption that they will hear a noise if a toilet is not working properly. This is not necessarily true.
Toilet leaks can be hard to find. They are normally caused by a bad flapper valve seal, a bad ballcock valve, an improperly positioned float arm, or defective overflow tube. Listed below are various toilet tests you should complete.
Test the toilet for leaks by dropping dye tablets (or a few drops of food colouring) into the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Leave for 15-20 minutes. If food colour appears in the bowl, you have a leak and repairs are required.
Take a piece of tissue paper and place it to the back of the inside toilet bowl wall. DO NOT FLUSH. If it soaks up with water, you have a leak.
Overflow tube leaks are the most common and costly, however easily repaired. To identify and repair, remove toilet lid. If water is at the top edge of tube, you have a leak. Adjust float arm down to keep water level ? to 1 inch below the top of the overflow tube. If you see or hear water running, repair it promptly to avoid unnecessary charges.
How do I read my Radio-Frequency water meter?
The Neptune Radio-Frequency water meter has an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen which is activated when shining a flashlight on it. You will see a Totalized Read (9-digits with a decimal).
How can I tell if there is a leak by looking at my water meter?
Please ensure that the shut-off valve or all of the faucets are off, prior to attempting either of the following:
- If you have a water meter with dials on it, you will see a small red arrowhead. When the arrowhead is spinning, there is water flowing through the meter. If there is a leak, the arrowhead will not stop.
- If you have a radio-frequency meter, shine a flashlight on it to activate the LCD (liquid crystal display). You will see the Totalized Read (9-digits with a decimal); if there is continuous flow after the meter, you will see a faucet symbol indicating that water is still passing through the meter and there is a potential leak.
The watermain was redone on my street last winter. Who will restore my lawn and when?
Prior to construction beginning in your area, a pre-construction letter would have been sent identifying the contractor responsible for the work on the watermains and the restoration of your lawn. Please refer to this letter as there will be a contact listed for you. Please call them with any outstanding issues regarding your restoration. If you cannot locate your letter, please contact the Call Centre (519) 255-2727 Option 3, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), 8:00am - 5:00pm, to have a duplicate letter sent to you.
I had a repair done to my curb box and they had to dig up my lawn. When can I except the lawn to be fixed?
Generally speaking, restorations will be done within about 4 weeks of excavation, weather permitting and based on sod availability. A four week wait period is necessary to allow ground settlement to occur. When work is done in late fall or winter, the restoration work will be scheduled in April or May, based on spring weather and sod availability.
My meter is leaking. What can WUC do for me?
First, determine where the leak is.
If the leak is at the meter or any of the meter connections, it is WUC's responsibility and the repair will be free of charge. Please call the Call Centre to make an appointment. Please note: the cost of the meter will be applied if WUC is required to replace frozen water meters.
If the leak is before or beyond the meter, it is the homeowner's responsibility to repair and you may want to contact a plumber.
There is water in my front yard. Who do I contact?
If there is standing (still) water, it is likely a sewer problem. Please contact the City of Windsor through 311.
If the water is bubbling (flowing), please contact our Call Centre (519) 255-2727 Option 3, to have someone from our Trouble Department out to investigate.
How can I stop my water billing if the house is vacant?
You can call into the Call Centre (519) 255-2727 Option 3, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), 8:00am - 5:00pm, to arrange for shut off at the curb box and have the meter removed. There is a charge to have the water services shut off, at the curb box.
Please note that pipes must be drained and sealed prior to freezing temperatures as water inside may freeze, causing breakage of the pipes.
There is spray paint along the street/sidewalk. What does the mean?
When locates for underground utilities are done, it is common practice to mark the location with spray paint.
From the Ontario One Call, the following codes are used:
What is my water hardness?
Windsor's water is considered to be moderately hard. Hardness values vary from mid 90's to 125 mg/l (milligrams per liter) or PPM (parts per million)
What chemicals are added to water for the treatment process?
Ozone gas is generated and injected into the water to destroy bacteria and viruses and control taste and odour-causing materials. PaCl (polyaluminum chloride) is added to produce a gelly-like floc particle that attracts and captures colour particles, bacteria, and suspended solids from the water so that they can be removed.
To assist the PaCl in it's removal of particles, a polymer is added to produce larger, stronger floc particles that can be removed from the water more efficiently in the settling and filtering processes.
Liquid Chlorine is added to the water as it is leaving the treatment process to ensure the water is protected as it travels through the distribution piping from the potential introduction of bacteria through leaks or other means. Concentration of Chlorine is strictly controlled at 1.5 mg/l (PPM) by continuous monitoring of the treated water stream.
There is a rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide) odour coming from my bathroom water. What is wrong with it?
The rotten egg odour that is sometimes detected in the water from the bathroom sink is in fact not in the water. All sinks are equipped with "S" shaped traps that contain a water seal to prevent the sewer gases from the sanitary sewer from entering the house. Gases from the sewer can be absorbed into this water if it is left standing for extended periods of time without use, such as when the home owner is on vacation or even over night. When the water is turned on, the water exiting the tap displaces the air in the piping and a short duration indication of the rotten egg smell is detected. A quick way to determine this is to collect a glass of the water leaving the tap and smelling it away from the sink where no rotten egg smell will be detected.
How often is chlorine added and how often is it monitored?
Chlorine is added on a continuous basis to the water leaving the treatment process at a strictly controlled concentration of 1.5 mg/l. The concentration is monitored on a continuous basis through an on line monitor and is sampled by the operator hourly, 24 hours per day. In addition, the concentration of chlorine in the water is monitored at 18 locations through the distribution system on a daily basis to ensure an adequate concentration is maintained to ensure a safe supply of water to the customers.
My water tastes like a swimming pool! Can you turn down the chlorine?
Chlorine concentrations maintained in the distribution piping supplying water to our customers is controlled based on requirements of the Ministry of the Environment to ensure adequate chlorine concentration to maintain safe drinking water to all customers. As a result, some customers living close to the treatment facility may experience higher chlorine concentrations than customers living further from the treatment plant as the concentration added must be sufficient to ensure adequate chlorine at the furthest extremes of the distribution system.
Is my tap water safe to drink?
The answer to this question is simple: YES. The Windsor Utilities Commission is committed to adhering to the standards set by the regulating organizations. However, all sources of drinking water are subject to potential contamination by constituents that are naturally occurring or are man made. Those constituents can be microbes, organic or inorganic chemicals. All drinking water can reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some of these. The presence of these contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in the drinking water than the general public. Immuno compromised persons are those persons undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders. Some elderly and infants can be particularly at risk from infections and these people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
My water has an earthy, musty odour. Is it safe to drink?
Water with an earthy, musty odour is safe to drink. The musty earthy odour is typically caused by a group of naturally occurring organic chemicals formed from dying water vegetation in the source water. Windsor experienced such a problem in the early 1990's but this has been corrected with the introduction of Ozone into our treatment process.
My water is grey in colour and cloudy. Should I drink it?
This problem is typically observed during colder weather periods when the cold water leaves the customers' plumbing through the tap and enters the warm air or glass. Air, dissolved in the cold water, forms tiny air bubbles in the water that appear as a grey cloudy condition. Letting the water stand for a few minutes will result in the air bubbles rising to the surface and leaving the water clear. The water is safe to drink as air bubbles are the source of this condition
I have low water pressure? How can I fix it?
If at any time you experience water pressure low enough to affect the use of your fixtures, such as shower, toilet flushing, etc., the office of the Windsor Utilities Commission should be notified so that a qualified operator can investigate the cause of this problem. It may be as simple as excessive use of water in your neighbourhood or city-wide during the high consumption periods of the summer months or as involved as a water supply main break that will require the services of a repair crew to expose and repair to return the system to proper service. Normally this problem is not one that the customer is able to fix themselves unless the supply valve to the customers plumbing has been closed or partially closed during plumbing repairs.
I want to dig some fence postholes in my yard. Will the region locate my water service for free?
Prior to digging, the utility should be contacted to locate any buried services. This service is provided at no charge to the customer. Click here to learn more.
What is Corrosion Control?
Corrosion control is a program implemented by the Windsor Utilities Commission aimed at lowering lead levels in customers' homes and businesses that have lead service lines, lead plumbing and fixtures. The program involves adding orthophosphate (food grade phosphoric acid) at the A.H. Weeks Filtration plant between 1.5 and 2 parts per million (ppm). Over time, this small dosage will promote the creation of a protective coating internal to the pipes preventing the leaching of lead into the customers' drinking water. This method of lead corrosion control is a preferred method in many other municipalities across North America including Winnipeg (MB), Detroit (MI) and Toronto (ON) and addresses the legislative changes directed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.