News List

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Water Leak or Ground Water?

Post Date:02/28/2017 2:58 PM

storm runoff

Ground oversaturation from heavy rains can
look a lot like a bad underground leak.

During our last month of record-setting rainfall, NUD has fielded high numbers of calls from residents concerned about water leaks. 

At first glance, it looks like a break in an underground water line:  water is flowing or looks to be “bubbling up” from the street, or a driveway or yard.  But when large storms and heavy rainfall occur – as we’ve experienced this February - this type of “leak” situation is often caused by ground water.  When the ground is saturated, water has no other place to go than to run – down the street, through a yard, over a driveway.

NUD handles water/sewer issues, but city storm crews take care of ground water concerns.  We want to make sure the issue gets routed to the right party right away so response can be efficient and immediate.


 water meter




The blue "leak dial" on your meter
face spins when water runs continuously. 
If you're not using water on purpose,
this could mean a leak somewhere.

 french drain overflow

French drains are often hidden, so 
overflows can look like water
"bubbling up" from underground.


  • Do you see water “bubbling up” from somewhere on someone else’s property?  A lot of times these are overflowing French drain systems.  If you can get closer, you might see the water source is greenish in color – a sign of algae/plant life in groundwater.  Public water is treated and will always run clear. 

Hopefully this information helps – first, to relieve immediate concerns that you have a leak on your property, which no homeowner wants!  Ground water issues often resolve themselves after a couple of days.  But if flooding looks possible, getting city storm crews involved right away can help them address the trouble before it gets worse.


But please be kind to your city storm crews!  In extreme weather situations, they are doing their best to respond to many service calls as quickly as possible.  You can help by clearing any visible debris like leaves or trash from storm drains to avoid clogs.

As always, if you have a water or sewer emergency, we are available to you 24/7 – contact (425) 398-4400.  And we’re happy to answer any questions anytime.