The City of Richardson is a north Dallas suburb known for its business mindset. The residents of Richardson know what it takes to get the job done, and that’s why we are proud to serve this community. Legacy Plumbing strives for excellence and efficiency in everything that we do: from the initial appointment phone-call to the onsite plumbing work. Our team of Richardson plumbers will get your home’s water, sewer, and gas systems back in shape so that you can focus on what matters in your life.
On this page, we’ve compiled some information on the utilities and plumbing that will be helpful for you as a homeowner. Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions.
(Page Last Updated November 2020. Contact the City of Richardson for the latest information.)
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The water charge is simply based on what the water meter reads. These meters can be read remotely and are usually accurate within 2%. Richardson charges per 1,000 gallons on an “increasing block rate” when the usage is over 11,000.
The sewer charge is not based on a direct measurement for Richardson residents who do not have a separate meter for their irrigation water. It is calculated automatically from your water usage. Richardson takes 98% of the average winter water usage (November through February) over the last three years. This informs their ceiling for sewer charges so that you don’t get charged sewer fees for water that goes on your lawn.
All these charges go toward maintaining the 550+ miles of water mains and 525+ miles of sewer collection mains. The storm drainage fee was implemented around 2011 in order to finance the improvement of the storm drainage system in the city.
Your natural gas is not provided by the City of Richardson but is likely provided by a company called Atmos.
Your gas meter is probably located in the alley behind the house. Usually, these are painted gray, near the driveway, and about the size of a backpack. If the gas meter is not right next to the house, then you will have a gas line that travels underground from the gas meter to a point directly outside the house. It will then come up above the ground (this is called a riser) and then will turn and enter the structure.
Legacy plumbing specializes in gas leak diagnosis and repair, so give us a call if you have questions regarding this.
It takes a lot of water to power the industry of Richardson. Because the reservoirs that Richardson gets its water from are not unlimited, the city has implemented some rules to help reduce water waste, especially from lawn irrigation.
During the hot months from April to October, watering during the day (from 10 to 6) is prohibited to prevent the waste that happens from excessive evaporation. During the wintertime, however, watering during the day is allowed in order to avoid watering during freezing temperatures. Watering is only allowed two days a week.
For the official water conservation plan of Richardson for 2019, check out this PDF.
In addition, Richardson has put together a list of general water-saving tips on this page.
Many cities offer incentives for installing water-saving plumbing fixtures. To our knowledge, Richardson doesn’t have this particular program. However, they do offer a low-cost water conservation kit.
This kit only costs $8 and comes with two shower heads, some faucet aerators, leak-detection dye tablets, and some other water-saving tools.
While we’re on the subject, where does Richardson get its water from and what level of quality is it?
Since 1973, Richardson has been a member of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). NTMWD controls a handful of water reservoirs in the North Texas area and serves many other nearby cities like Allen, Frisco, Plano, etc… Read more about the NTMWD and their relationship with Richardson here on this page.
The water quality is consistently monitored. Like most North Texas areas, the water is pretty hard with an overall hardness PPM of 114-191. In addition, the water taste can vary throughout the year due to algal bloom. This is common with NTMWD cities. Finally, Richardson water is disinfected with chloramines instead of chlorine. You can read the 2020 Water Quality Report for more in-depth information.
The way that Richardson is billed by the NTMWD is based on the historical greatest usage. Because Richardson’s actual annual usage has been less than its historical record for quite some time, Richardson (along with other member cities) has been seeking to change the actual water contract.
Update November 2020: The NTMWD and 13 member cities have agreed upon a new water contract.
Do you have a stopped-up sewer line? The city of Richardson’s sewer main usually runs parallel to the street in front of the house or the alley behind the house. The sewer main line from your house exits the perimeter of the foundation, travels under your yard, and tees into the city’s mainline. The city will maintain its mainline and also the house’s sewer line after it crosses the property line. Anything between your house and the property line is your responsibility.
If you are not sure whether the stoppage is on your side or the city’s side, you can call them out to verify. If there isn’t one already, they can install a two-way cleanout or “tap” for $120 at the property line. This will enable them to verify where the stoppage is and clear it out if it isn’t on your property. If it’s not a stoppage on their side, they can let you know and may even attempt to clear the clog on your side although they are under no obligation to do so.
If you are having repeated sewer issues, give us a call. We can perform a visual camera inspection of your sewer lines and make recommendations to prevent headaches and water damage later on.
Like most cities in North Texas, Richardson has adopted the IPC or International Plumbing Code set of standards published periodically by the International Code Council. Specifically, they are currently following the 2015 edition of the IPC.
They have made specific changes to this code for application in their particular city. These are called “amendments”. Every city usually has code amendments to address specific situations relevant to their city. In fact, Richardson is a part of a group called the North Central Texas Council of Governments which publishes its own list of recommended amendments to encourage consistency throughout the region.
Despite this, there are still a lot of codified variations between Richardson and its sister cities as well as irregularities in enforcement and interpretation of plumbing code. As a plumbing company that works throughout the North DFW area, we have to stay on top of all of these different code amendments as we pull permits and schedule plumbing inspections in each city.
Plumbing Considerations in Richardson
Richardson is a large city with over 120,000 residents, and more than half of the homes in the city were built before 1980. There are several important things to be aware of regarding homes of this age.
One is the materials used for the plumbing systems. The sewer systems of homes built before the mid-1980s are usually cast iron. Some houses on the newer side of this range will have PVC piping above the slab foundation and cast iron sewer lines below the foundation. Homes on the older side of this range may have a mix of copper and cast iron in the walls and cast iron below the slab. This is important to be aware of because once buried cast iron starts to break down and deteriorate, it is very susceptible to breaks and root infestations.
The water systems on homes of this age will mostly be copper. Copper is a tried and true water piping, but it does have its weaknesses. As it gets older, there is a greater likelihood of it developing pinhole slab leaks under the foundation, especially if it wasn’t initially installed with care. If you think you may have a slab leak, you can read more about it here.
If you aren’t sure where your water meter is, check the front yard right next to the street curb. Most of the houses in Richardson have the water meter housed in a rectangular concrete or black plastic box situated right next to the street out front.
The gas systems on houses built before the 1980s will mostly be black iron (steel) threaded piping. This is a good piping material as long as it is protected from moisture, which will cause it to rust. For some older homes, the gas service line which runs through the yard is steel piping as well. These will inevitably develop leaks over time which could increase your gas bill. Learn more about gas leaks here on this page.
Finally, you should pay careful attention to your water heater. Many homes in Richardson have the water heater located in a hallway utility closet inside the home. The problem is, most water heaters have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years before the tank itself starts to leak. When this happens it can mean a lot of water damage if the heater is located inside the home. Check it frequently, inspect the pan drain and T&P drains, and install a water alarm or flood protection device. If you have more questions about this, see our water heater page.