how long does a water main break take to fix

A water main break can be a major inconvenience and can cause disruption to your daily routine. But how long does it take to fix a water main break? Depending on the severity of the break and its location, it could take anywhere from a few hours to several days to repair. Factors such as weather, access to the area, and required materials also affect repair time. In addition, if there is any damage to the surrounding pavement or landscaping, this could add additional time for repairs.A water main break is when a pipe carrying potable water supply from the water main to homes or businesses breaks or bursts, causing a disruption in the flow of water. This can cause flooding and other damage due to the loss of pressure and large amounts of water that are released. Water main breaks can happen for a variety of reasons, such as age, corrosion, freezing temperatures, ground movement or pipe defects.


Age is one of the most common causes of a water main break. Over time, pipes can rust and corrode, causing them to become weak and prone to cracking or breaking. As pipes continue to age, they are more likely to burst due to pressure changes and environmental conditions. In addition, older pipes may not have been properly installed to begin with, making them more susceptible to failure.


Extreme weather conditions can also cause a water main break. During periods of extreme cold weather, the ground can freeze and shift, putting pressure on the plumbing and causing it to crack or break. Droughts can also lead to breaks in water mains as the ground around the pipe becomes dry and brittle, causing it to become unstable. Severe storms can also cause flooding which can lead to a water main break due to the excess pressure that is put on the pipe from all of the water.


Clogs in a water line can also lead to a water main break. If debris builds up inside of the pipe over time, it will eventually lead to a blockage which will put significant strain on the pipe itself. This strain can eventually cause a crack or break in the line. Additionally, tree roots that grow near pipes may put pressure on them which could result in a rupture.

Construction Errors

Construction errors are another common cause of water main breaks. If a pipe is not properly installed or connected correctly there is an increased risk of failure due to environmental factors such as changes in temperature or pressure changes caused by surges in usage. Additionally, if there are any flaws in design or construction it could lead to a rupture at some point in time.

Symptoms of a Water Main Break

When a water main break occurs, it can cause significant damage and disruption to your home or business. The most common symptom of a water main break is an increase in water pressure in the pipes, which can cause flooding and other damage. You may also notice that your tap water looks or smells different, or that it has a strange taste. Additionally, you may hear a loud hissing sound coming from the pipes when the break occurs. If the break is severe enough, you may even see dirt or debris coming out of the taps. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact a plumber as soon as possible to have the issue assessed and repaired.

Another symptom of a water main break is an increase in your water bill. This is because if there is an uncontrolled flow of water from a broken pipe, your utility company will be unable to accurately measure how much water has been used and will therefore charge you for more than you actually used. Additionally, if there is flooding due to the broken pipe, this can also cause extensive damage to property that could lead to costly repairs.

Finally, another symptom of a water main break is wet patches or standing water around your property. This could indicate that there is an underground leak somewhere on your property which needs immediate attention. If you spot any wet patches or standing water around your home or business it’s important to call a plumber right away so they can assess the situation and take steps to prevent further damage from occurring.

Identifying a Water Main Break

A water main break can be a serious problem for any homeowner, and not just because of the potential for property damage. If not identified and addressed quickly, a water main break can lead to safety hazards such as slippery surfaces and weakened structures, as well as costly repair bills. Identifying a water main break is not always easy, but there are some telltale signs that can help you determine if one has occurred.

One common sign of a water main break is a sudden drop in water pressure. If you notice that your sink or shower is not producing the same amount of water as it usually does, this could indicate a problem with your plumbing system. Additionally, if the pressure is lower than usual when the taps are turned on, this could also be an indicator that something is wrong.

Another common sign of a water main break is an increase in your water bill. If you aren’t using more water than usual but still find yourself with an unexpectedly high bill, it’s possible that your pipes are leaking somewhere along their length. You may also notice wet spots in your lawn or garden that weren’t there before – these could be signs of a leaky pipe underground.

You may also be able to detect a broken water pipe by listening closely for running or dripping sounds coming from somewhere on your property. While these sounds may be difficult to hear at first due to their low volume, they can become more obvious over time if nothing is done to fix them.

Finally, if you suspect that your pipes have been damaged in some way, it’s important to call a plumber right away so they can inspect the system and identify the source of the problem. A professional plumber will be able to quickly diagnose any issues and provide solutions for repairing or replacing broken pipes or fittings.

How to Respond to a Water Main Break

When a water main break occurs, it is important to take the necessary steps to address the issue as quickly and safely as possible. The first step is to determine the source of the break. If the water main break is located outdoors, it can be seen and identified easily. However, if it is located inside a building or underground, it may require extra effort to find its source. Once the source of the break has been determined, it should be shut off immediately in order to prevent any further damage from occurring.

If there is significant flooding in the area, contact emergency services as soon as possible. It is important to ensure that all persons in the vicinity are safe and that there are no hazardous materials present in the water that could cause harm. Additionally, contact your local water department or utility company right away and inform them of your situation. They will be able to advise you on what steps need to be taken in order to resolve the issue quickly and safely.

Once all emergency personnel have been contacted and are on their way, begin cleaning up any excess water in order to avoid any further damage from occurring. Remove furniture and other items from affected areas and use towels or rags to soak up excess water if necessary. If repairs need to be made due to structural damage caused by flooding, contact a professional contractor who specializes in plumbing and/or water damage repair right away so that they can begin working on fixing the problem as soon as possible.

Finally, once all repairs have been made and everything has been cleaned up, contact your local health department for advice on how best to disinfect any areas that have come into contact with contaminated floodwaters. This will help ensure that everyone remains safe from health hazards associated with contaminated waters such as bacteria or toxins. Taking these steps will allow you to effectively respond to a water main break and get back on track with minimal disruption caused by an unexpected plumbing issue!

Who Is Responsible for Fixing the Water Main Break?

When a water main break occurs, it is the responsibility of the local water authority to repair it. Depending on where the break is located, different agencies may be responsible for the repair. For example, if the break is in a city street, then it is likely that the municipal government will be responsible for repairing it. If the break is on private property, then it may be up to the property owner to fix it. In some cases, a combination of both parties can be responsible for repairing the break.

Once responsibility has been determined, then steps should be taken to fix the water main break. This typically involves turning off water at both ends of the affected area and excavating down to where the pipe has been damaged in order to make repairs. After repairs are made, pressure testing should be done to make sure that there are no further leaks or other problems with the system.

It is important to note that while some water main breaks can be fixed quickly and easily, others may require more extensive repairs or even replacement of certain pipes in order to ensure that they are functioning properly again. In addition, some municipalities may require additional permits before any work can begin on repairing a water main break due to safety concerns or other regulations.

In any case, when a water main breaks it is important that steps are taken quickly in order to ensure that no further damage occurs and that any necessary repairs can begin as soon as possible. By understanding who is responsible for fixing a water main break and taking proper steps to repair or replace it quickly and safely, you can help ensure that your home or business remains safe from potential flooding due to broken pipes.

Identifying the Problem

The first step in fixing a water main break is to identify the problem. This involves locating the break and determining its cause. This can be done by using specialized equipment such as ground penetrating radar, acoustic leak detection, and infrared thermography. Once the break has been located, it must be determined if it is a simple repair or if a more complex repair is required.

Shutting Off Water Supply

Once the problem has been identified, it is important to shut off the water supply to prevent further damage and flooding. This can be done by shutting off valves in the line or by using a bypass system to divert water away from the area of repair.

Excavating for Repair Work

The next step in fixing a water main break is excavation of the area around the break. This will allow workers to access and repair any damaged pipes or fittings that may have caused the break. Depending on the complexity of the repair work, this may involve digging up several feet of soil and rock around the affected area.

Replacing Damaged Parts

Once access has been gained to damaged parts, they must be replaced with new parts that are compatible with existing infrastructure. It is important to ensure that all parts are installed correctly so that future problems do not occur due to improper installation.

Testing for Leaks

After all parts have been installed and replaced, it is important to test for leaks in order to ensure that no further damage will occur. This can be done by using specialized equipment such as pressure gauges or hydrostatic testing units. Once all leaks have been identified and repaired, it is important to restore water supply back on in order to ensure proper functioning of systems downstream of the repair site.

Potential Risks of Not Repairing a Water Main Break

Not repairing a water main break can cause a number of potential risks, including contamination of the public water supply, damage to property, and loss of water pressure. Contamination of the public water supply can occur if there is a breach in the system that allows contaminants to enter. This can lead to health problems for those who consume contaminated water, as well as a greater risk of structural damage due to corrosion. Damage to property can be caused by flooding or soil erosion due to excess water leakage. In addition, if the water pressure decreases too much due to an unrepaired break, it could cause backflow and other plumbing issues in homes and businesses.

Overall, not repairing a water main break can have serious consequences for both public safety and infrastructure. It is important that breaks are identified and fixed quickly in order to minimize potential risks and keep communities safe.


The timeline of a water main break can vary greatly depending on the size of the break, the location, and the complexity of the repair. In some cases, it can take as little as one day to fix a water main break, while in other cases it can take weeks or even months. The best way to ensure a quick and efficient repair is to contact your local water utility company right away. They can provide you with an estimate of how long it will take to get your water service back up and running.

No matter how long it takes to fix a water main break, the important thing is that you stay informed about the progress of the repair. This will help ensure that any necessary precautions are taken and that you are able to get your water service restored as soon as possible.

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