Emergency Dispatch: (703) 335-7990

Customer Service: (703) 335-7950


English Korean Spanish Urdu Vietnamese

Water Main Break FAQ

Click on a topic below to view the answers.

What are the signs of a water main break?

On or near a road:

  • Flowing or standing water in unusual places
  • Sinkholes or potholes
  • Large, unexplained cracks or splits in asphalt or pavement

In your home:

  • Low or no water pressure
  • Discolored or cloudy tap water
  • Gurgling or groaning sounds in plumbing

How do I report a potential water main break?

Please call Customer Service at (703) 335-7950 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call Emergency Dispatch at (703) 335-7990 on evenings and weekends.

How does the Service Authority repair a water main break?

Before a repair begins, the Service Authority contacts Virginia 811 to locate and mark any utility lines situated near a damaged water main. Repair crews use heavy equipment to excavate soil and reveal the broken portion of pipe. If a crew needs to temporarily stop the flow of water to make the repair, customers whose service will be interrupted will be notified by phone or in person.

If a water main located beneath a roadway needs to be repaired, the excavation site will be covered with a temporary asphalt patch. A Service Authority contractor will repave the impacted section of the road typically within six to eight weeks.

How long does it take to repair a water main break?

The amount time required to complete each repair varies due to many factors, including pipe material, pipe size, type of break and accessibility to the pipe.

What can cause a water main break?

Fluctuations in water and ground temperatures, soil characteristics and the material, age and condition of a pipe all contribute to water main breaks. Pipes can also break if they are accidentally struck by heavy equipment.

What should I do when my water service is restored?

Run cold water from a tap on the highest floor of your home or business for five to 10 minutes to remove any air or sediment from your plumbing. If your faucet continues to sputter or your water remains cloudy, please call the Service Authority’s Emergency Dispatch Office at (703) 335-7990.