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Signs You Have a Water Main Leak


 When a city or town suffers a water main leak it has the

potential to cause an awful lot of damage and brings sections of town to a standstill. Depending on the severity of the leak, homes or businesses may be affected, too.  It’s very important to catch a water main leak early before it

has a chance to turn into something more serious. If you watch out for certain signs, you just might catch a water main leak in time.


Bubbling  This is one of the more common and obvious signs that a water main leak has

occurred. When there has been a rupture in the pipeline and the water has nowhere else to go, it may end up bubbling up into the street. Anytime you see that happen make sure that you contact the city immediately so they can get to work fixing it.  If the bubbling water is able to continue bubbling away for any length of time

it could result in a flood. If action is taken in a timely fashion and the appropriate water main valves are shut off, serious damage may be averted.


Water Pressure Changes  A less obvious sign that there is a water main leak might be a reduction in

water pressure for nearby homes or businesses. This can be a particularly difficult one to figure out, because if all of the people that are affected don’t speak to one another, they all might think it’s just an isolated incident. The water in these affected places may also be discolored along with the low water pressure.  Even though it usually won’t mean a water main leak, it’s still wise to

contact your local water utility if you notice a sudden decrease in water pressure in your home or business. If multiple people call reporting the same thing, they will take it seriously and go check it out.


Sinkholes  If the water from a water main leak just stays below the

surface under the ground, it may soften the earth and damage the underground infrastructure, causing sinkholes to form on the surface. Most people have probably seen giant sinkholes on the news, and a water main leak doesn’t mean you’ll get ones like that, but even small sinkholes are damaging and inconvenient. Again, it’s wise to call the water utility anytime you notice water running under the surface.


Causes  Water main leaks don’t just happen out of the blue, even though it definitely seems that way

sometimes. There are some common causes that result in water main leaks that anyone in charge of a municipality’s water mains should keep in mind. These causes include:  Exterior corrosion of older pipes that creates holes.  Thinner pipe walls in certain parts of the system than in others.  Expanding soil that surrounds the pipes due to frozen ground in winter.  Poor installation.  Seismic activity.  Unusually high water pressure.  Depth of the pipes.  Other underground disturbances.


ď‚— Keeping the integrity of the water mains intact is crucial to

keep the water flowing inside the pipes and nowhere else. Some of the causes can be remedied by careful inspection and adjustment, but some are out of anyone’s control. The only thing any municipality can do is work on preventative measures and have a sound emergency water main valve program in place.


Prevention  Since the potential effects of a water main leak are so severe, prevention is a critical part of the

equation. Updating old or aging systems is one way to take preventative action that works really well. The city may choose to replace worn out sections and leave others, or do a total revamp of the whole thing in one shot. The budget and condition of the system will be big factors.  A city or tow can also hire a third party that specializes in leak detection to come in and do a

thorough inspection of the water main system. These companies utilize all of the latest technologies to get a clear and accurate view into the system. This helps detect current leaks and pinpoint areas that may be headed in that direction.  Water main valve exercise is another preventative measure that minimizes damage in the even

of a water main leak. Technicians will go in and essentially turn the water main valves to prevent sticking and keep them in good working order. That way they will turn smoothly in the event of an emergency.

Signs You Have a Water Main Leak  

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