Water Main Breaks

Main breaks happen for various reasons as a normal part of operating a water utility. Overly dry or wet weather causes the ground to shift, typically resulting in round breaks wrapping around the diameter of the pipe. Sudden pressure fluctuations and the normal aging process of the mains also cause breaks, typically resulting in lateral breaks running along the pipe.

Main breaks are unpredictable, but when they happen, restoring water service safely is WaterOne's priority. As a part of our commitment to excellence, our crews have a target goal of restoring service in four hours.

Whenever possible, we'll contact you with a Notify JoCo alert. As a courtesy to our customers, we do not issue alerts late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Sequence of Work

  • Our crews isolate the pipe by shutting off valves and temporarily placing the water supply out-of-service for the time necessary to make the repairs.
  • After repair or replacement of the broken pipe, it is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and flushed prior to being reconnected to the system.
  • New pipe, like any new container, can produce a new pipe taste and/or odor. This is not uncommon and will usually go away after a few weeks. It is not in any way harmful, only aesthetically displeasing.

After the Crews Have Gone

After a main repair, you may see reddish discoloration in your water, caused by small amounts of iron compounds flushing out of the system. These iron compounds pose no threat to health, merely unpleasant. You can get rid of the discoloration by running cold water for a few minutes through a tap without an aerator, such as the bathtub or outside spigot.

If discoloration or low pressure continue for an extended period of time, contact Customer Service at 913-895-1800.

If water from a main break causes damage to your landscaping or building, learn more on our Report Leak/Damage Claims page.