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 AAAH helped Mark repair the leaky fixtures in his home.
Repairing Mark’s leaking fixtures
Mark L. had a leaking kitchen faucet and two leaking toilets.
When Mark moved into his house twenty-five years ago, it was in rough shape. Through his persistence and handiwork, he had turned it into a terrific home. Yet, the toilets and faucets had recently developed persistent leaks. So, when Mark noticed the Water Leak Repair Program advertised on the insert of his sewer/stormwater/water bill, he decided to apply.
A Water Leak Repair Program partner organization, the African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH), coordinated Mark’s repairs. Mark had two leaking toilets—one that had long been nonfunctional, and another that was chronically leaky. The plumber repaired the leaking toilet and replaced the other with a new water-efficient model.
Mark’s leaking kitchen faucet also needed replacement. When the plumber arrived, he did not have the same variety of faucet with him. Mark recalls how the plumber left to go to the store and returned with that same variety of faucet that Mark preferred. “The plumber went above and beyond,” Mark remembers.
In the end, the plumber put six hours of work into the house, making improvements and fixing leaks that Mark had been fighting for years. For Mark, the benefits of the repairs outweighed the several months he had to wait. Mark remembers how it used to make him crazy to wake up and hear the faucet dripping and know that water was being wasted. And maybe the best part—his sewer/stormwater/water bill is much lower now that the leaks are fixed.
Now that his home is free of leaks, Mark is looking forward performing live music this summer. After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark is excited to get back out play music with his two bands. To anyone considering the leak repair program, Mark says, “It’s a benefit to yourself and to your property—and to all of us, because we cannot afford to waste water.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.