What To Do In The Event Of A Water Main Break
We hear about them all the time on the local news…a water main has broken somewhere in your city, creating a mess in the streets and wreaking havoc on local residents’ water service. But what do you do when the water main break occurs in your neighborhood? What steps can you take to minimize the damage to your property?
Water main breaks can occur for a number of reasons, most often they are the result of cold weather or freezing temperatures putting stress on the infrastructure, however, in some cases the piping has simply gotten old and worn out, and when that happens it is bound to spring a leak or two. In most areas, main breaks that leave residents without water service receive the highest priority when it comes to repair. The water is turned off in order to prevent further damage and then the repairs begin. While crews work quickly to restore service, the repair of a water main break is not the easiest fix in the world and may take up to eight hours to complete.
Residents are encouraged to report any and all signs of a water main break, as these calls are critical to getting crews on the way to begin work on the problem. Water authorities will gather as much information on the problem as possible in order to respond effectively. When the repair crew arrives on scene, they will determine if the water should be shut off or not. In most cases, a main break is enough to disrupt service all on its own.
Once a work zone has been set up, the utility service will be contacted to mark the various utilities as required by law. After they have been marked, so the crew knows where they can dig, the excavation of the water main begins. A trench is established around the damaged area and repairs begin. The repair process is no always a smooth one, since older valves may not operate properly, there may be delays in marking the utilities or the utilities may be mismarked, having to work around those utilities depending on the location of the break, the unavailability of needed equipment or parts, problems with the equipment on site, or aggravating weather conditions.
Residents may be asked to conserve water during these emergencies, and once the water restoration problem has been solved, water will still need to be run for a period of time before any use is made in order to prevent the presence of dirt, fungi, or dangerous bacteria. Once the pipes have been cleared, the water will be safe for general use.