Water Problems

Coquitlam is committed to providing safe and reliable water service to residents and businesses. Common issues are listed on this page along with potential solutions. If you conduct any of these inspections and you cannot determine the cause or solution, then contact the city for assistance.

Dirty Water from your Taps

Occasionally, the tap water in your home may look cloudy. There could be a number of causes including:

  • An unexpected event like a water main break
  • Water main flushing
  • Work being done on the water system

If you find dirty water in your home, run the cold water tap in your tub or your outside tap until the water runs clear. This should clear up within 30 minutes.

Low or High Water Pressure

Most water pressure problems are not due to the City’s water system but instead are due to problems in the building’s plumbing system.

Low Pressure at One Fixture

Check that the valve for this tap is wide open. You will usually find this valve under the sink or behind the toilet. Make sure the screens on the tap are clean.

Low Pressure with all Fixtures

  • Check for leaks inside the building at faucets, toilets, hot water tank, or outside the building by looking for water bubbling up, wet spots in the yard, or areas where the lawn is greener.
  • Check that all valves on your water lines are wide open. This includes the valve where the water enters the building and the valve at the property line.
  • Check with your neighbours - a problem in the City system would affect them as well.
  • Have your pressure reducing valve checked. This valve is typically located where the water line enters the building. It needs to be inspected to make ensure the screens are clean and that it is operating normally. It’s recommended to have a plumber do this if you are not familiar with your plumbing.

High Pressure

  • Check with your neighbours - a problem in the City system would affect them as well.
  • Have your pressure reducing valve checked as described for low pressure.

Leaking Hot Water Tank

Have your leaking hot water tank inspected by a plumber before replacing it. The leak could simply be a result of a faulty pressure reducing valve. This valve is the cone-shaped device located on your water supply line next to the main shut-off valve.

If you choose to inspect your water tank and replace a valve yourself:

  • Before you change the valve, make sure there is no water pressure by opening a tap
  • Keep a bucket handy as water can drain back through the valve from your home’s plumbing
  • Remember to shut off your main supply valve

Water Leak on City Property

The City is responsible for leaks from the water pipes on city property. This could be from the water main or from the service to the property up to the valve at property line. If you notice water leaking on City property, contact Engineering and Public Works Customer Service.

City staff will confirm if there is a leak and also determine if it is on the City’s side of the service valve or on private property. Once a leak is confirmed on City property, repairs will be scheduled based on the severity of the leak and availability of staff.

Water Leak on Private Property

You may have a water leak if you notice one of these situations:

  • Areas of your yard which are always soggy and wet
  • Patches of grass that stay greener than the rest of the lawn
  • Water coming out of the ground in your yard
  • You can hear water running even when taps are turned off

Property owners are responsible for all the water pipes starting at the service valve near the property line. If a leak is noticed near the property line, you may be able to check if the leak is on the private side by locating and shutting off the water service valve. After the valve is shut off, if the flow or sound of water is reduced or stopped completely, the leak is most likely on your property.

Winter Water Concerns

Freezing temperatures could interrupt the water to your home or business. It could also result in damage to your water pipes. Snow can bury valve boxes, service boxes and fire hydrants which can make it hard to access during emergencies. To prevent these conditions there are several things you can do:

  • Check for water pipes that are exposed to the cold and insulate pipes especially in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or inside pipes attached to outside walls in unheated areas of the building. Pipes in all of these areas can freeze. There is a risk they will break while thawing when the weather warms.
  • Keep fire hydrants near your property clear of snow. During heavy snowfalls, fire hydrants can become covered, so please keep them clear of any obstructions so the Fire Department has easy access in the event of an emergency.
  • Shut off and drain outside water taps and irrigation systems by closing the valves inside your home and opening the outside tap. Your outside taps should be left open and irrigation system drained. Outside taps that are not winterized can freeze back into your main water line. This could cut off your water supply.

Locating and Shutting Off Your Water Service

In an emergency or for repairing plumbing issues, you might need to shut off the water to the property. Engineering has records of valve locations for most homes as records were made when the house was constructed. However, any changes since then may not be shown. These records do not include the pipe location running through the private property. To get information on the valve location (if available), visit the Engineering and Public Works Department at City Hall.

Turn off Your Water

To turn off the water, you will need a water service key which can be borrowed by Coquitlam residents from the Works Yard located at:
500 Mariner Way
Coquitlam, BC V3K 7B6
A $50 cash deposit is required. which will be refunded if it is returned within 30 days.

Shut off Your Service

To shut off your water service, remove the lid off the service box. Fit the key on to the valve and turn 90 degrees (a quarter turn) clockwise. Check outside tap to make sure the water is off. To turn the water back on by slowly turning the key 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Remove the key and put the lid back on.