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  1. 10/26/2012 RESPONDING TO CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS SOMETIMES REQUIRES DETECTIVE WORK
  2. Each year District staff responds to hundreds of customer service requests that are related to water and wastewater service problems.  A majority of customer complaints are resolved easily and in a timely manner, however, there are certain complaints that require staff to perform detective work to resolve an issue since some complaints can have several possible causes.  A few examples of these elusive service problems are listed below: 
    • Original Complaint - High Water Bill (Water consumption higher than normal):  Staff responds to the original customer complaint and notices the meter slowly or erratically registering water consumption. 
    Possible cause #1:      The customer is asked to make sure no faucets are leaking in the residence.
     
    Result 1:    Customer discovers a leaking faucet in the laundry room.
     
    Resolution:   District staff advises the customer to either repair themselves or hire a plumber to repair.
     OR
     Result 2:    After ensuring that there is no water loss occurring inside it is discovered that the meter is still registering consumption. 
     
    Resolution:   Staff moves to isolates the supply to the irrigation system, the meter stops moving.  It was discovered that one zone valve in the irrigation system was stuck open causing water loss even though the system was not operating and the water was not surfacing. 
    OR
     Result 3:    After checking faucets and the irrigation system, the problem was still present.
     
    Resolution:   Staff requested the resident to put dye in the toilet tanks and let them sit unused to see if the dye ends up in the bowl.  Two of the three toilets had dye in the bowl.  The flapper valves in the bottom of the tank were replaced and the problem was resolved. 
    • Original Complaint - Noisy Pipes (banging or humming noise):  Staff responds to the original customer complaint and notices a banging or humming noise does occur. 
    Possible cause #1:  Staff requested the resident to put dye in the toilet tanks and let them sit unused to see if the dye ends up in the bowl.
     
    Result 1:    Customer discovers that dye did enter into the toilet bowl.
     
    Resolution:   The flapper valve was not sealing properly and caused the fill valve to vibrate while refilling with a small loss of water.  District staff advises the customer to replace the flapper valves and the problem would be resolved.   
    OR
     Possible cause #2:  Staff asks to inspect the pressure reducing valve (not all homes have this device) located near the water supply coming into the house.
     
    Result 2:    The diaphragm in the pressure reducing valve failed which was causing the noise as water passes through.
     
    Resolution:   The pressure reducing valve was repaired or replaced and the noise ceased. 
    OR 
    Possible cause #3:  Staff determines pressure coming into the house is too high.
     
    Result 3:    The pressure (if applicable) is adjusted by staff to normal delivery pressure.
     
    Resolution:   Noise ceases. 
    OR 
    Possible cause #4:  Staff suspects air in the water lines.
     
    Result 4:    The air is evacuated by flushing the main line, then the interior plumbing of the house.
     
    Resolution:   Noise ceases.
     
    • Original Complaint - Flooded Backyard:  Staff responds to the original customer complaint and notices that the backyard is indeed flooded/wet. 
    Possible cause #1:  Staff confirms that the water meter at the residence is not registering water consumption.
     
    Result 1:    Staff begins tracing water source on surface and discovers the origin of the water is three residences down the street.  A child has left the garden hose on all day which resulted in the backyard flooding.
     
    Resolution:   The garden hose is then turned off. 
    OR 
    Possible cause #2:  An irrigation system in an adjoining yard is stuck and has been running for a long period.
     
    Result 2:    An irrigation system in an adjoining yard is stuck on and/or has a broken line and has been running for a long period.
     
    Resolution:   Contact homeowner and advise them to repair their irrigation system.
     
    • Original Complaint - Sewer Odor in Basement (especially when water is used):  Staff responds to the original customer complaint and starts their investigation for the possible cause of the odor. 
    Possible cause #1:  Staff inspects the floor drains, sinks and showers in the basement.  They notice an order in the guest bathroom.
     
    Result 1:    The bathroom is rarely used, the traps in the sink and shower are dry.  This caused sewer gas to seep through the drains.
     
    Result 2:    The floor drain near the hot water heater is dry.
     
    Resolution:   District staff filled all traps/drains with water and the odor went away.  District staff advised customer to do the same thing whenever the odor problem returned.
     
    The proceeding examples are just a few of the challenges District staff address on a daily basis.  If you have any water or wastewater service concerns or just a question, please feel free to contact Scott Hand, Operations Supervisor at 303-979-2333.