When a water main breaks, Public Works staff may have to take that section of pipe out of service depending on the type of break. Homes and businesses that are on that line of pipe will have no or low pressure during the repair. If we need to take the pipe out of service during the break we will turn off your service at the meter; if no meter, the line may drain out. Crews will place notices of the service interruption on door fronts.
What you could see:
Crews have to excavate the site of the break to safely access the pipe, which will require setting up and establishing a work zone; this may be in the street, sidewalk, or in the right of way in your front yard. We will close a street, if needed, or otherwise make preparations to do an emergency repair, necessitating the presence of several City vehicles. The work may require the use of cutting instruments and jackhammering to remove sidewalk or pavement. A large vactor truck will be used to carefully excavate soil and debris around the pipe and draw up escaping water while work is being done. In most cases, we will turn the water down but not off – to keep positive water pressure on the break site, preventing debris from entering the pipe.
Depending on the type of break, it may be repaired or a section of pipe may be replaced completely. Once the break is repaired or replaced, crews will backfill the excavated site, pouring fill material from a dump truck and evenly distributing and compacting it on the work area. We will watch the repair site for a couple of days, and, then Streets crews will restore sidewalks and road surfaces to original condition. Cleanup of debris on yards and roadways is usually the same day as the break, provided we do not have freezing conditions.
The water in the pipe gets flushed through and is then disinfected for delivery. We do have a distinct process for bringing a main back in service to meet our water quality and purity standards. We flush and also provide contact time with a chlorine disinfectant. We will not reopen customer services until our water has no turbidity and meets the appropriate water quality standards.