Water Theft

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You can help prevent water theft

We all know the value of high-quality, reliable water service – clean, potable water when you need it. Unfortunately, there are a small number of individuals and businesses that attempt to obtain water service without paying for it. When this occurs, all customers pay the price. 

What is theft of water service?

Theft of water service is the unauthorized use of water. It usually occurs when an individual tampers with a fire hydrant, water meter or water service line to obtain water without paying for it. Theft of water is illegal, and those found guilty will be subject to civil and criminal penalties, which may include substantial fines and/or time in prison.

In addition to being illegal, many methods used to steal water actually compromise the integrity of the water system, and can lead to serious water quality issues – potentially harming you, your loved ones or damaging your home.

Theft of service comes in many forms 

Following are examples of theft of service. If you are aware of any of these activities, please give us a call. If any of these situations were pre-existing at your property, and you were unaware that it was considered theft of service, contact us so we can help you fix the issue.

Unmetered service or bypass using water 

This is when a customer receives water service that is not being metered, and/or is not being billed for that service.

Unauthorized use for construction 

From time to time, we find contractors using water service that is unmetered during construction projects. If you work in construction and need to use water on a job, give us a call. We can arrange to install a temporary meter and any necessary backflow prevention devices so that you can obtain water for your needs.

Irrigation connection before the meter 

When an irrigation or sprinkler system is connected to a water service line before the water meter, this is considered an illegal connection. Contact us for guidance on proper installation.

Unauthorized fire hydrant use 

The only individuals who are authorized to use fire hydrants are Tumwater Water Utility employees and fire department personnel for fire emergencies.  Authorization for other purposes must be pre-approved. This is important to our communities, because in addition to being illegal, unauthorized use can damage a fire hydrant and render it inoperative when needed for a fire. So, if you see anyone other than authorized personnel using a fire hydrant, please let us know.

Report Theft of Service

For questions or to report theft of service, please contact our 24-hour Operations Hotline at (360) 754-4150.