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Water Leak Pilot

water faucet
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Water Leak Pilot

The Water Leak Pilot was developed through partnerships with community-based organizations and local partners, with the support of state partners. It was established to reduce water and energy waste and the financial burden associated with water leaks while looking at the water-energy nexus (the relationship between water used for energy production and the energy consumed to extract, purify, deliver, heat/cool, treat, and dispose of water). Aging infrastructure and older homes can contribute to energy and water waste, as well as public health concerns. Overall, water infrastructure and premise plumbing leaks are costly for residents and community water suppliers and may impact overall water affordability. 

The goals of this program were to increase community education about water leaks, share tips for water and energy savings, conduct household water audits, and provide funding for supply-side household plumbing repairs. In addition, all pilot participants received free Kohler fixtures and households with children under the age of 19 or pregnant person were eligible for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Healthy Homes Program for lead and assessment and abatement.

Steps of Water Leak Pilot:

Water Leak Pilot steps: 1. resident recruitment and outreach 2. water audits 3. plumbing repairs 4. program evaluation

The Water Leak Pilot was launched by the OCWPA in February of 2021 in Benton Harbor and Highland Park, MI. With the support of state agency staff and community partners, 96 homes in Highland Park and 70 homes in Benton Harbor benefitted from the program and received free plumbing repairs, totaling over $60,000 in each community. Cost of repairs averaged over $600 per home in Highland Park and over $900 per home in Benton Harbor (not including free fixtures donated by Kohler).

Program evaluation was completed in early 2022 and the final report will be posted on this site. This report could be valuable in improving similar future projects and helping to determine the potential to duplicate or expand a similar program.

Water Leak Pilot plumbing fixture repairs and replacements
in Highland Park and Benton Harbor

Plumbing
Fixture

Highland Park 
Repaired

Highland Park 
Replaced

Benton Harbor 
Repaired

Benton Harbor 
Replaced

Toilet

84

29

0

61

Supply line

2

19

0

4

Faucet

22

75

3

86

Showerhead

2

14

4

18

Diverter

29

8

0

0

Outdoor spigot

2

4

5

4

Valve

23

17

5

3

Water Heater

7

0

1

0

Total Spent

Highland Park Benton Harbor
$61,848.50 $64,496.31