Underground Water Leaks - The Most Stressful Experience in the Business

I have evicted drug dealers. I’ve had trees fall on homes. I’ve had hostile tenants confront me. I’ve been sued. But nothing compares to the stress and anxiety caused by an underground water leak. I think the increased stress is caused because the problem cannot be seen. You can visually see the aforementioned issues but underground leaks, at least in one of my parks, are a mystery. A terrifying mystery.

This park sits on top of an old strip mine. I’ve watched water disappear into the soil in a matter of minutes. I’ve never once seen a water leak surface. This park has public utilities but the water lines are mostly black iron pipe with the occasional schedule 40 and schedule 80 plastic sprinkled in. To make matters worse, the lines are not looped and I have only one shut off in the park besides the one that shuts off the entire park.

I have been hunting for a water leak for 3 months. The leak keeps getting worse and worse as money continued to evaporate into the air. The water and sewer authority would not write off any of the extra consumption until I “corrected the issue.” I tried everything; dug holes and tested for chlorine, crawled under every home in the park and inspected the risers, meticulously poured over sub-meter readings, performed time studies at 2am, called plumbers, hired plumbers, called Leak Detection companies, etc.

Given my mix of plastic and metal lines, even American Leak Detection told me they gave me a 5% chance of finding the leak. But, I told them I didn’t care and hired them to come to the park anyway. Well, they underestimated themselves. After a period of head scratching, they found the leak and then used their correlation equipment to nail down the exact location. And, of course, it was directly under the oldest home in the park. A sweet 1972 model.

On Monday, my go to plumber came out and bore a hole under the home using a “missile.” While they were there, I had them install two more curb boxes throughout the park so I had more control over the shut offs and had them install new main lines on my two vacant lots.

I know this will not be my last leak but at least I now have the confidence to not fear it the way I did before. I’m sure many of the operators on this forum have handled water leaks numerous times and have lost the fear of them. But, for those of you who have not dealt with them before, I hope this post will ease some of your fears. There is always a way to fix it. You just have to keep calling people into you find the right company for job. In my case, it was “the right leak detection” company and the right plumber.

Next time I have a leak, I’ll know who to call!




We provide sub-meters to MHP owners to monitor/bill tenants for their water use/wastes and also for
Common Area Leak Detection:

  • Sub-meter MH lots;
  • Sub-meter service line connections and/or or by phases;
  • When a service line meter usage does match the corresponding sub-metered homes combined usage an auto- alert is issued.

Simple leak detection in common areas:

  • Install meters (with manual leak detectors) by sections or phases of the MHP;
  • Monitor the meters to identify were the water is going.

Municipalities do the same process metering down stream on their main water service lines.
Although not an exact science in locating underground leaks, but much better than looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack (or more appropriately " illusive fountain of youth" ).

“We’re here to answer your sub-metering questions”

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@jo13nathan , thank you for your post!

Your post is wonderfully written.

Yes, you are correct as you wrote: “…nothing compares to the stress and anxiety caused by an underground water leak…”

I am so very happy that you were able to resolve your 3 month water leak. I am also happy that you found the right plumber and the right leak detection. Way to go! That is fantastic!

Our Mobile Home Park is in the south, so thankfully the Water Lines do not have to be as deep as the Water Lines in the North. Since our Water Lines are closer to the surface, the actual Water Leak shows itself more than it would deeper in the ground.

We have found that a lot of Plumbers are not into the digging aspect of Water Lines in the actual ground. These Plumbers are more comfortable just repairing Water Lines in a house.

To repair our Water Lines we had one set of Plumbers (dad & son) and the son was the digger in the ground. We called another Plumbing Company who sent Plumbers that just took pictures of the Water Leak on the ground. I have very little “Plumbing Knowledge”, but I can take pictures all day long. Unfortunately, pictures do not solve a Water Leak.

As a Mobile Home Park Owner it is vital to have the right people for the right job.

We were blessed with a New Tenant who worked in New Subdivisions installing New Subdivision Grade Water Lines & New Sewer Lines. We were blown away by his knowledge & experience.

Thus, IF you are the Proud Owner of some Water & Sewer Lines and are having Water Leaks or Sewer Backup, take a drive to a New Subdivision that is under construction. You might make a friend with some valuable knowledge.

We wish you the very best on your MHP Journey!


Thank you, Kristin! I completely agree with you. Water leaks are really a niche among plumbers. Your idea to make friends with the local contractors at development sites is a good one too! In our area, leak detection companies do not seem to enjoy working in MHPs. And, unless they think they can absolutely find the leak, they don’t like taking the job. I pretty much had to talk them into it. My sense is that they don’t like chasing down the payments from customers whose leaks they couldn’t find. In our case, my plumber talked to the best Leak Detection company in the area and gave me a favorable review.

It’s crazy to think that it’s that difficult to hire someone but unfortunately, quality contractors are getting harder and harder to find, at least in our area. But, after all the stress and anxiety, I just got our latest meter reading yesterday and consumption was reduced by 60%. So happy!

Every week, I learn something.