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Davis Water News

Is a Water Line Break My Problem or the City’s Problem?

Water line breaks don’t happen often, but they do happen… and if you’re ever around to see one, you might be surprised by just how dramatic it can be. Sometimes, a water line break will send a spurt of water erupting up through the ground. Gallons upon gallons of water may be spewed into the air, in what can resemble a small geyser.

In other cases, a water line break can be more minor, and much harder to detect. If a water line breaks near your home, you may notice water pooling on your lawn or a sudden drop-off in water pressure in your home.

Whether a water line break is dramatic or more subdued, it can cause significant problems, including disruption to your household water use. Depending on where in the line the break occurs, it can actually impact many homes or businesses.

If you ever have to deal with a water line break, one of the first questions you’ll ask is: Who’s going to fix this? Is it your responsibility to hire a plumber and pay for the repairs? Or will the city handle it on your behalf?

Who’s Responsible for Water Line Breaks?

It really depends on where exactly the water line break occurs.

The city or municipality is generally responsible for addressing any public water main breaks. So, if it happens somewhere in the middle of a public highway, you can usually rest assured that local authorities will take care of it.

However, the water main connects to your home, delivering city water to your taps and faucets… and if the water line ruptures somewhere on your property, it’s likely that you’ll need to handle the matter yourself. You can call the city to verify their policy but be prepared to follow that with a call to a local plumber.

Why Do Water Mains Break?

There are a number of reasons why the water line may break, but the most common by far is simple corrosion. This is especially true if the water lines in your city or town are made of iron, which was once the standard material for pipes and plumbing fixtures. Sooner or later these pipes simply become old and worn out, especially if the soil is heavy with clay.

As this wear-and-tear effects pipes, they may develop cracks and fissures, or they may accumulate rust that causes water pressure to back up. Either way, it can lead to a rupture.

Beyond corrosion, there are other factors that can potentially cause water lines to rupture. For example, in colder climates, the normal cycles of freezing and thawing can compromise the integrity of a water line, causing it to crack. Additionally, the roots of mature trees can sometimes burrow down and break nearby pipes.

What to Do in the Event of a Water Line Break

If there is ever a water line break on your property, report it to the city; and, if you’re told that you’re responsible for fixing it, call an emergency plumbing service ASAP.

If you own a business or healthcare facility that loses its water supply due to a water line break, you’ll need to have potable water delivered. That’s something Davis Water Service can help with. Reach out to us to arrange a delivery.

Davis Water Service has been serving commercial and municipal clients for decades, providing emergency water relief for those dealing with water line ruptures, flooding, or natural disasters. If you ever have questions about potable water delivery, we invite you to contact us directly.