A ruptured water main can cause all sorts of problems. For one thing, it can leave water pooled on your front lawn; if you don’t act fast, that pooled water can attract pests and bacteria. A water line rupture may also leave your home or business without a clean water supply. In other words, you may need to hire someone to come fix the rupture, and also someone to deliver some emergency drinking water.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In this post, we’ll go into greater detail about why main breaks happen, and what you should do about it.
What is a Water Main?
When we talk about the water main, we’re talking about the system of underground pipes that carry water from a municipal source, such as a reservoir, to your street, and then straight to your tap.
The water main mostly occupies the public property, and if the main breaks are somewhere other than your lawn, it’s the city’s job to repair it. However, if you have a rupture in one of the pipes that connect the city line to your home, that may be an issue you have to resolve yourself.
Why Do Water Mains Break?
There are a number of reasons why the water main might break.
One reason is a shift in weather; the normal cycle of freezing and thawing can compromise the strength of the water main, potentially leading to cracks and fissures.
More generally, erosion can be a problem. Over time, old pipes simply wear out. This is especially true if they are made of iron, or if the surrounding soil has a lot of clay. This wear and tear can manifest as a crack in the pipe, or a blockage that causes pressure to build up.
Finally, water mains can break when the roots of mature trees get too close, actually breaking open the pipe.
How to Tell You Have a Water Main Problem
If you ever experience a water main rupture at your home or your business, there will be a few telltale signs. One is that water pressure in your home will suddenly, steeply decline.
A water line break can also cause a lot of leaking. You’ll probably notice this as water pools in your yard.
In some cases, this pooled water may be accompanied by a foul odor.
Finally, if you ever see a major and unexplainable increase in your monthly water bill, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re having a problem with the water main.
Dealing with a Water Line Break
If you have a ruptured water main on your property, you can call and report it to the city. Chances are, they’ll direct you to hire a plumber to address the problem. In some cases, though, you may need to get the city to issue a permit so that this work can be done.
You’ll also want to make sure you have clean water in your home or business. If the water is contaminated, you will need to either stock up on bottled water or arrange for delivery of water. (You can often call the city and ask them whether the water is safe for drinking, bathing, and food prep.)
Davis Water Service provides emergency deliveries of potable water to commercial and municipal clients. We can get you the clean, sanitary water needed for your store, town, office building, hospital, nursing home, dialysis center, or power plant. To arrange an emergency water delivery from Davis Water Service, we invite you to reach out to us at any time.