Is there a minimum water pressure (PSI) level that US water utilities must comply to residential customers that is backed by the Federal Government (EPA)?

For months, I've been getting less than 7 PSI and have been contacting my local water authority and they have done nothing.

If there's a federal law or something, I can use that to help my case.

Typical water pressure

  • What are you attached to in this picture? What faucet is that? Is it in a bathroom? I think I see tile. – Ben Welborn Aug 13 '16 at 3:16
  • The builder of the house could possibly be responsible. Supposing it's new construction they might still be in business. But if you have scale buildup or something in your pipe, or if it is generally old, you may want to consider some new faucets at least. There are probably some pressure regulating constricitons in the system... but if the supply to the house is okay (like 100 psi, depending on where you live), then I doubt that anyone will fix it for you (unless you pay them). – Ben Welborn Aug 13 '16 at 3:21
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    Has it always been this way? Or did it just start being low one day? – Tyson Aug 13 '16 at 13:25
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    I bought the house a year ago. At first it was fine averaging about 35 PSI sometimes lower, sometimes higher, but the last two months has been constantly low. Many neighbors have cisterns with water pumps. – Rick Aug 13 '16 at 13:50
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    most public water systems will deliver 35 to 80 PSI. This will very depending on location, altitude etc. Contact the utility company and ask them what pressure should be expected in your area. – shirlock homes Aug 13 '16 at 14:12

Given that the low pressure readings throughout your house were taken with zero flow from the water main to the house, the only possible cause is low water pressure in the water main. There's nothing on your household side that could cause this zero flow low pressure reading.

There will be a height factor. The higher you are above the connection to the water main, the lower the static pressure will be. A rough guide is that you lose 1 psi for every 2 feet of vertical rise. Clearly, you can easily reach a height that the water cannot reach.

A consequence of this is that you, and all the others experiencing this low pressure, represent a potential hazard because of possible backflow into the water main.

Here http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/water-towers-new-york/, is how the problem is solved in New York City, where tall buildings overwhelm the normal water main pressure.

Is your local utility missing a water tower?

  • Interestingly enough where I live there are mountains, but I am miles away from the mountainous area. According to my GPS, my current elevation is 226 feet. – Rick Aug 16 '16 at 8:13

Technically there are national codes, but local (state, city, or jurisdicitonal) codes supercede them. So where you live and where you measure the pressure is important (see next paragraph). Try searching online for distibution code minimum pressure + the state or city you live in. There's usually a table of minimum pressures.

Different fixtures have different pressures. The minimum for the distribution pipe is often around 100 psi... so I can't believe that's what you meant. A shower, or an outdoor faucet should have no less than 8 psi typically.

  • My brother lives 60 miles away in the country and gets 160 PSI (overkill I know). I only live 10 miles from the main city... All I could find was this saying I'm SOL and it isn't fair. – Rick Aug 13 '16 at 13:20
  • That's why I wanted to know if there was a Federal Board or something where I can file a formal complaint since my local water authority doesn't seem to want to do anything. – Rick Aug 13 '16 at 14:50

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