Water Main Break FAQs

  1. Image of a water main break flooding a streetWhen do water mains break? Water main breaks can happen at anytime. Breaks tend to occur more often in winter because of ground movement when it freezes and thaws, which puts stress on the pipes. 
  2. What happens once the City is notified of a possible break? City staff assess the situation. If a water main break is identified, by law, staff must first call 811 to request utility companies locate their infrastructure.
  3. How is it repaired? Repair crews pinpoint the leak, and evaluate the pipe's condition. Normally, a repair clamp is placed over the hole or crack. If multiple breaks have occurred on a section of pipe, or the pipe is in bad enough condition, staff might make a temporary repair, to restore water service, while it plans for the replacement of pipe. 
  4. How long do repairs take? Repair times vary based on conditions. In most cases, repairs are made within five (5) hours. Ability to restore landscape, roads, and/or driveways depends on the time of year, and has to be scheduled. Excavations need to be given proper time to settle before restoration occurs, so the surface restoration does not sink.
  5.  Will my water be shut off? In most cases, the repair is made under reduced pressure. What this means is that impacted residents will experience low to no water pressure during some part of the repair. Normally water service is only disrupted for about 2 hours during a 5 hour break. Utility division staff strive to keep customers with full water pressure for as long as possible.
  6.  Will I be notified? Staff notify every customer by knocking on every door within the impacted area. If a customer is not home or work occurs during late overnight hours, a front door hanger will be placed at each home. Emergency situations may require the water supply to be limited before staff can knock on doors and hang door tags. During normal weekday City Hall hours, efforts are also made to post notices and information on the City of Warrenville Facebook page and on the City Web page.  In the rare instance a boil order is required, staff will knock on doors and work to contact customers by phone, the City website, and Facebook.
  7.  Is the water safe to drink after a break? Yes. Discoloration or air in lines may be experienced due to disturbing the main and exercising valves. Should issues like this be observed, run the cold water from the highest point in the house until the water runs clear (a bathtub faucet is a good place to start).