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Water Main Breaks And Flood Damage

Water main breaks are events that can affect an area as small as a section of one street, or it may spill over into several areas of a given community. As the weather turns colder, such breaks will become more common, due to the expansion and contraction of the ground and pipe material. Pipe corrosion, soil conditions, and movement of the ground may also play a part in the formation of conditions leading up to water main breaks. The flood damage problems created affect motorists as well as water company customers.

City authorities rarely have enough crews to address more than one or two breaks at a time, so priority is given to those scenarios that are more severe, or which have the most impact on customers and the environment. Those breaks that cause widespread service disruptions are usually given the highest priority.

Once a main break is reported, an investigator is dispatched to the scene, using a variety of tools and techniques to determine if it is indeed a water main problem and exactly where the breach is located.  A determination is also made as to whether or not this is an emergency to be dealt with immediately, or if it can be scheduled for service.

Once the utility service is notified, they will arrive at the location, block off traffic if necessary, and mark any and all utility lines servicing the immediate area.  Excavation may not commence until this procedure is completed.

Heavy equipment will be used for excavation, such as backhoes and even hand tools.  Once the main has been reached, water will need to be rerouted while repairs are made. If unique parts are required, this may delay the repair by days or weeks.

Once the main has been repaired, the main will have to be re-charged, a process that may take up to an hour. In some cases, the main may break again. Once the repair is complete and solid, the area will have to be refilled and repaired. While some of the simpler problems may be repaired in as little as eight hours, larger water damage problems may take several weeks to correct.

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