Auburn's water, unlike that of other cities, comes from deep well aquifers and springs. It is not dependent on the Cascade Mountains' snowpack replenishing open reservoirs. The City is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the water service lines from the street to the backside of the service meter. The owner is responsible for the service from the backside of the meter to the home. All plumbing in the home and landscape irrigation systems is also the responsibility of the owner. Backflow prevention devices are required on all irrigation systems and fire lines.
Residents are billed according to the amount of water used. The City has established an inclining block rate for the quantity of water consumed to promote water conservation.
Safe Drinking Water in Auburn
In response to recent concerns about water quality in other parts of the country and recently in Tacoma and Seattle about lead and other metals that can leach from a home's water piping into the customer's water, the City of Auburn Water division wants our customers to know the following facts about Auburn's water supply:
- The City conducts water quality testing frequently throughout the year at our supply sources and in the distribution system. The results of our testing program are summarized in our annual water reports listed on the Water webpage.
- Water from the City's wells and springs receive treatment to adjust the pH so that it is not corrosive to metal piping.
- Earlier this month, pH testing throughout the City confirmed that the water is meeting a pH level of 7.8 that minimizes the potential for corrosion.
- The City of Auburn conducted lead and copper testing in 2015; the results were below state and federal water standards.
- The City has replaced many older pipelines where lead fittings between the water main and customers' water meters may have been present.
- The City has a program that regularly looks at water main replacement needs within the water system and provides the funding to construct these replacements.
- Auburn residents who receive water service from one of the following utilities should contact those utilities directly with any questions or concerns:
- Southern part of the Lakeland Hills - City of Bonney Lake, 253-862-8602
- West Hill - Lakehaven Utility District, 253-941-1516
- Northern Lea Hill - Water District #111, 253-631-3770 or City of Kent 253-856-5600
If you live in an older home built before 1945, you many want to adhere to the following precautions:
- Run the water from a tap for 2 minutes before drinking if the water has not been run for 6 hours or more. If there is lead solder in your house's piping, lead can accumulate in the water within the piping if the water sits for a long period. Running the water will flush contaminants out.
- Always use the cold water tap for cooking or drinking since warm water can be more corrosive than cold water.
- Never make baby formula or other drinks or food for children from the hot water tap. Use water from the cold water tap (after flushing) and warm if necessary.
If you would like to test your home's water to see if lead is present, and if levels are cause for concern, the Department of Ecology has a list of accredited water quality labs that can perform the testing.
Lab search tip: To search for a water quality lab from Ecology's website, choose King or Pierce County, check the box that says "Show only Labs that accept General Public and Commercial samples", and click Select Lab in Washington. Choose a city that is convenient for you, and make sure the lab performs tests on drinking water and metals.
The City of Auburn is committed to providing its customers with drinking water that meets all state and federal water quality standards. If you have any further questions, please contact City of Auburn Community Development and Public Works Department - Engineering at 253-931-3010.
The City of Auburn does not add fluoride to the drinking water.
In 2012, the City began purchasing water from Tacoma Public
Utilities which adds fluoride to their treated water. This water
mixes with the City of Auburn's well and spring water. Depending on
your location in the water system, you may receive fluoridated
water. Please check the Fluoride Map (PDF) for fluoride levels where you
Current fluoride levels range from 0 to 0.9 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Levels at or below 0.2 mg/L are naturally present in the groundwater
2016 Water Supply Outlook - February 2016, Update
2015 was a drought year which pushed regional water sources to the limits. Auburn, along with our regional supplier Tacoma, requested voluntary reductions in outdoor water use. We wanted to see a 10% reduction in water consumption during August and September, and Auburn residents responded with a 15% reduction! Thank you for this tremendous effort!
Winter rains are replenishing Auburn's groundwater supply and melting snowpack should fill Tacoma's reservoir. We anticipate our supply for summer 2016 to be near normal capacity. However, we can't predict how warm and dry the summer may be, so conservation is always important.
Here are some simple, effective conservation ideas:
- Only operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers when they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size load you are washing.
- Take shorter showers and replace your showerhead with a low-flow showerhead. Low flow showerheads are available, free-of-charge, to Auburn water customers at the Customer Care Center, City Hall Annex second floor.
- Replace your old, high-water-use toilet with a low flow toilet. For information on Auburn's toilet rebate program, visit the city's website at Frequently Asked Questions - WaterSense Toilet Rebate Program (PDF).
- Turn off the tap when brushing teeth. Letting the faucet run can waste up to 4 gallons of water.
- Do not wash your cars or recreational vehicles at home; use commercial car washes that recycle water.
- Consider drought-tolerant plants as you plan your garden this year. Attend one of our Natural Yard Care workshops for additional lawn and garden tips.
- Low-flow showerhead giveaway: Come to the Utility billing counter at 1 East Main ST, 2nd floor, and pick up a free low-flow (2-gallon-per-minute) showerhead.
- Toilet Rebate Program:
For service changes or questions concerning billing, email the Utility Billing Division or call 253-931-3038.
Avoid Cross Connections
The City of Auburn water system provides drinking water that is safe to drink and meets all State Department of Health and Federal health standards.
One of the concerns of the Washington State Department of Health involves drinking water cross connections. A cross connection is any connection between a safe drinking water source and a unsafe source of water or liquid. This connection presents a health risk and needs to be eliminated or controlled. For more information on eliminating or controlling cross connections, download this helpful brochure (PDF).
If you need help determining what type or where to install a backflow device, or the safety of your plumbing with regards to backflow, please contact the City of Auburn Cross Connection Control Specialist at 253-931-3064. You may also request a Water Usage Survey Questionnaire or an on-site survey at the same number.
Backflow devices need to be tested annually to ensure that they are functioning properly to protect your health and to prevent contaminants and pollutants from entering the public water system. The customer is responsible for hiring a certified backflow testing company to perform this annual test. For information about companies who are registered to perform backflow assembly testing in the City of Auburn, consult the City's "2016 City of Auburn Registered Backflow Assembly Testers" list.
Comprehensive Water Plan
- Water Comprehensive Plan - updated October 2015 (PDF 22 MB)
- Water Comprehensive Plan Appendices - updated October 2015 (PDF)
The City began a water meter replacement program in 2015, which will continue through 2017.
View the Water Meter Replacement Program Details and Frequently Asked Questions.
Note to Firefox users: If you experience issues accessing larger PDFs, go to Tools > Options and increase your browser's offline storage cache to 100 MB on the Advanced tab.
For questions or concerns regarding the following, call 253-931-3048:
- new installations
- maintenance of existing services
- water quality
- water pressure problems
- help in locating leaks
- reporting broken hydrants or leaking water mains
After-hour water emergencies are currently handled by calling the emergency operator at 911.