Water Leak Repair Program Stories: Binh

Blog Post
A hole is dug around a small blue pipe that has water spraying out of it. The hole is filled with dirty water and surrounded by lush green grass.
Binh of Northeast Portland had an underground leak so large he had to turn his water on and off again every time he used it. We fixed his leak for free so he can run his water full-time and worry free!
In this article

Since 1998, Portland Water Bureau’s Water Leak Repair Program has been fixing leaks in homes across Portland. The program provides funding to repair leaking fixtures and pipes—from a leaking toilet to a leaking underground water service line. Fixing water leaks can lower water bills, improve livability, help individuals stay in their homes, and conserve water! 

The program began as a partnership with Multnomah County. Last year, we added two nonprofit partners: the Community Energy Project (CEP) and African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH). These organizations work with local plumbers to coordinate repairs and provide excellent service.  

Read on to learn how CEP helped Binh repair an underground leak. 

How the program fixed Binh’s underground leak 

Binh of Northeast Portland had an underground leak repaired by the Water Leak Repair Program. Binh found out he had a leak when he was alerted by the Portland Water Bureau.  

A man kneels over an open water meter. He is writing in a notebook balanced on one knee.
Geoff Fey from Community Energy Project (CEP) checks a water meter

To check for a leak, Binh turned off his home shutoff valve and the water meter continued to spin. The spinning dial told him there was a leak somewhere between the meter and his house. To stop the leak temporarily, Binh relied on turning the water supply on and off at the meter when he needed to use it.  

Community Energy Project (CEP), a partner organization of the Water Leak Repair Program, coordinated Binh’s service line repair. Repairs took much longer than expected due to Water Leak Repair Program delays. But at last, plumbers replaced Binh’s service line to stop his underground leak. While in the home, plumbers were also able to replace a leaking toilet with a new WaterSense-labeled model.  

After the repairs were complete, Binh was relieved that he could finally turn his water back on full time and not worry about the leak. He recalls that the plumbers did a great job—and he didn’t even need to pay them. In fact, CEP is planning to come back to insulate Binh’s home when they have the funding.  

To fellow Portlanders needing leak repair assistance, Binh advises them, “Be patient.” Despite the long wait for repairs, the plumbers did excellent work. This was the first leak that happened in the thirty years he’s lived in his home—hopefully it will be decades more before he experiences a leak again! 

How to get help with leaks 

Last year, the program served 108 homeowners. Applicants came to the program from all parts of Portland, representing a wide range of ages, ethnic/racial and gender identities, and ten languages spoken or preferred.  

If you have a water leak, apply today for the Water Leak Repair Program! All homeowners who receive water from the Portland Water Bureau and are enrolled in the Financial Assistance program or are income qualified are eligible to apply. If you have questions about your eligibility, call 503-823-4527 or email conserve@portlandoregon.gov.