Illinois American Water Launches Leak Task Force to Track Down Hidden Leaks, Saving Millions of Gallons a Day

Belleville, Ill. – Nov. 9, 2021 – This year Illinois American Water launched a new leak task force to identify and repair leaks which are not surfacing.  The task force uses advance sounding equipment to identify hidden leaks across the company’s service areas.  To date, over 50 leaks have been located and repaired, helping to conserve several millions of gallons of water a day. 

According to Vice President of Operations Beth Matthews the occurrence of leaks within a community water system isn’t uncommon.  She explained, “Due to the underground location of our infrastructure, leaks may not surface for some time. Water follows the path of least resistance which can keep them hidden below the surface. This is why we implemented a proactive approach to chase down leaks and stop them in their tracks, conserving and protecting our precious water resources.”

The Illinois American Water Leak Task Force uses acoustic sensors to record sound overnight.  This approach helps to avoid traffic noise, etc. The recordings are saved and transferred via a cellular connection so task force members can review them.  According to Matthews, the sound of running water is distinguishable from other sounds.  She explained, “Our team is well-versed in these sounds and can usually tell if the water is from a main break or hydrant flushing.”

After a possible leak is identified the task force pinpoints the location via the use of ground microphones.  Once a location is confirmed a crew can safely begin digging and repairing the leak.  The 52 leaks identified to date were located in the Southern/Metro East, Champaign County, Sterling and Streator service areas and consisted of leaks on water mains, service lines, valves and hydrants. The task force will continue to move across the state to implement the technology and save water.

Matthews said, “Every drop we save is of value to the communities we serve and the environment.”

Customers can also help save water by incorporating wise water use into daily habits and checking for leaks.  Even the smallest leak can cause the loss of thousands of gallons of water each month. That loss means not only is water being wasted but can also result in an unnecessarily higher water bill.  Wise water use tips and leak detection information can be found at under Water Information.

Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville. For more information, visit and follow Illinois American Water on Twitter and Facebook.


About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable, and reliable water services to our customers to help make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Karen Cotton

Senior Manager External Communications