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Water Service Lines

Who is responsible?

Iowa City Water Division (ICWD) provides water to its customers and maintains the water mains required to deliver water to homes and businesses. ICWD also owns the water meter used to measure how much water a customer uses.

The property owner is responsible for the connection (tap) to the water main and the piping (service line) that carries the water from the water main to the water meter.  The property owner is also responsible to protect and provide access to the water meter. When a problem occurs, ICWD will assist the property owner in determining the cause of the problem and the appropriate course of action.

What is a stop box?

The stop box is used to turn the water service on and off to a property. It is usually located in the public right-of-way. ICWD requires that the stop box (curb stop) be operable at all times. The property owner owns the stop box and is responsible for its maintenance.

How does the stop box operate?

To operate the stop box, a key is placed inside the housing and lowered onto the operating rod that is connected to the underground stop box (curb stop) to turn the water service on or off.

Why is the stop box operated?

ICWD operates the stop box to turn the water on or to turn the water off:

  • When a customer pays a final bill
  • For internal plumbing repairs
  • When a service leak becomes hazardous
  • When a customer fails to pay the bill

When does the stop box need to be repaired?

  • When the stop is too high or too low. The top of the stop box should be level with the ground.
  • When the stop box is located under concrete or asphalt and is not accessible
  • When the valve does not operate
  • When the housing becomes bent and the key cannot be lowered onto the valve
  • When the rod is loose and does not connect to the valve

Who will make the repairs?

ICWD is not licensed to make plumbing repairs. The property owner will be notified by mail to have the repairs made. We recommend that a licensed plumber be hired to make the repairs. If the repairs are not made, ICWD will hire a plumber and bill the cost to the customer.

How much will it cost?

The cost will depend on the work required to make the repair.

What if my service line starts to leak?

Please call ICWD if you see water leaking. Our representative will assist in determining the location of the leak. Sometimes this is difficult because water follows the path of least resistance and does not always come to the surface near the leak. You will be notified to contact a licensed plumber to repair the leak.

What if my service line starts to leak and water is not coming to the surface?

During our routine survey of the water distribution system, leaks are sometimes found that do not come to the surface. Once ICWD determines the location of the leak, you will be notified to contact a licensed plumber to repair the leak.

Who is responsible for the water meter?

The water meter is owned by ICWD. It is usually located in the basement. The property owner is responsible for protecting the meter from freezing temperatures and providing access to the meter and meter reading system.

How ICWD can help:

If you have a high water bill and do not know why, call ICWD. A representative will come to your home to assist in determining the cause. In most cases, high water usage is caused by a leaking faucet, malfunctioning water softener, furnace humidifier, ice maker, or toilet. We recommend that you make these repairs to reduce the wasted consumption on your monthly bill. If you need assistance, please call (319) 356-5160.

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