Water Department Repairs
My water was turned off - why?
We do our best to notify customers of service interruptions when they occur. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the time or place of water outages. If you were not notified of service interruptions, it may have been because:
The leak was large in nature and could potentially cause property damage and needed to be dealt with in a timely manner.
Because the leak was discovered in the late evening or early morning, we did not want to disturb you.
If your water is off and you haven’t received any information, please contact 205.338.7692 ext 2.
How will I know crews are making repairs?
What if I see a water break?
If you notice large amounts of water on the road or in ditches, report it through the Action Center or by contacting the
Water Department at 205.338.7692 ext 2 and a someone will be dispatched to evaluate the situation.
If the leak seems severe and it is after regular office hours, contact Central Dispatch at 205.884.3333.
What causes water main breaks?
Water breaks happen year-round. There are many contributing factors including:
- Pipe Age
Age can contribute to main breaks as pipes reach the end of their life cycle.
- Pipe Material and Soil Conditions
The material that pipes are made from can contribute to main breaks if the material is in soil conditions that cause the material to corrode or crumble. Soil conditions can vary greatly within a 20 meter stretch of pipe.
Ground temperature and water temperature can contribute to water breaks. Prolonged periods of below zero temperatures can cause the soil to freeze quite deep into the ground. Extreme temperatures can cause expansion and contraction that creates force on the water pipes.
- Pressure Changes in the System
Changes in pressure can cause water breaks. This usually occurs at points where there is a preexisting weakness in the pipe. Overall system demands (such as very hot, dry days with high water use) can also cause changes in pressure that lead to main breaks as well as the shifting of the ground due to heavy rainfall.
What is involved in repairing a water main?
When a call or customer request is received, a crew is dispatched to determine the location, impact and severity of the leak.
Once the general repair location has been identified, special equipment is used to locate any other utility lines that may be affected when digging begins. The repair crews are dispatched to the location to begin. Excavation exposes the problematic water line and the repair is completed. The pipes are then flushed and water is tested to ensure water quality.
After that, the damaged road, lane, or right-of-way must be repaired to the match the existing surface features. This may take some time depending on the depth of the hole, the construction season, weather and the availability of equipment and materials.
How long does it take to repair a water line?
It can be difficult to predict when water service will be restored during a water break repair. The length of repair time can vary depending on the location of the leak, condition of the soil, the condition of the pipe, seasonal activities, availability of repair materials and difficulty and location of the excavation. However, we make every effort to minimize the length of time customers are out of water.
No one has come to fix the water main yet - why?
At any time, there are a number of water service repairs required throughout the area. Projects must be prioritized based on factors such as the severity of the leak, available manpower and tools, time of day and the number of customers that would potentially be without of water. We understand that water outages are a significant inconvenience and we always endeavor to get customer's water back on as quickly as possible.
How can I prepare for when my water is turned off?
You can prepare for a water service interruption by storing water in the fridge for drinking. Store water in your bathtub, clean pails, sinks, jugs or any clean container that is appropriate to hold water.
Ensure all your equipment that relies on water is handled according to the manufacturer's specifications. For example, air conditioners may be required to be powered off. Other equipment may have bypass valves or shut off valves that should be turned on or off. If you are not sure what to do, contact the manufacturer or the place of purchase.
Can I flush my toilet without water service?
You can continue to use the washroom during water interruptions by pouring stored water into your toilet bowl to empty its contents.
Is my water safe to drink?
Before water service is restored, we flush the lines and then sample and test to ensure the high quality of the water. To flush the pipe system within your own home we recommend that you run each cold water tap used for drinking for five minutes.
Also, wash tap aerators and screens in hot soapy water then disinfect them for ten minutes in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water. Disinfect any water filters to the manufacturer's recommendations.
The water service line on my property needs repair. Who is responsible?
If the section of the service line to your home requires repair and it is on your property (determined by the property line) you are responsible for the repair.