Main Water Line Repair Process: Here’s What You Can Expect

Water mains last a long time; some in New York are over 150 years old. However, like everything else, it’s bound to deteriorate. It’s also prone to damages caused by outside factors like tree roots or physical trauma.

When a water main breaks, its scope of damage can range from a higher water bill or flooding. It’s in your best interest to have it repaired as soon as possible.

If you’re planning to have it repaired, you must also prepare yourself and your whole house because a main water line repair is an elaborate process that also involves you. Keep on reading to see the basic steps and know what you should expect.

1. Testing for the Leak

First, we have to test for the location of the leak. We might perform several tests to get an accurate location. This allows us to see where to dig up and what repairs to perform.

In some cases, you can identify the location of the leak yourself. Professionals will still have to verify this. Nonetheless, it will save precious time because they’ll know where to check first.

Contractors will also assess the cause of the leak and come up with a repair strategy. For example, they will have to remove a tree root that broke into the pipe. Other than that, they may perform other steps to prevent this from happening again.

2. Marking the Utility Lines

The pipes are underground, which means contractors have to do some digging to access them. However, water lines aren’t the only utility lines underground. There’s fiber, cable, electricity, gas, traffic signal communication lines and more.

The contractors have to locate these lines, too, in relation to the areas they need to dig up. Once they’ve located them all, they have to mark them on the ground using a specific color for each utility. They follow the APWA uniform color codes across the country.

These markings are temporary. The repair crew needs to do this because they have a risk of digging straight into the utility line.

This will cause issues to the utility company itself. Some lines with special coating have a surface that cannot tolerate scratches.

If they break it, it will also cause issues to the house/s that line connects to.

3. Setting Up the Worksite

To prepare for the digging, we also have to set up the site in a way that will be safe for cars, commuters, and the repair crew. You can expect to see traffic cones set up by the crew to prevent people and vehicles from crashing into the site. These also serve as warnings that repairs are under progress.

Still, that’s not a proper warning. Contractors still need to use the proper signs to keep drivers alert. The signs are also there to direct them into another lane or another street if needed.

Other safety precautions we take include having the crew wear the proper attire. The workers on the site also observe the proper safety measures as per training.

4. Digging Per the Plumbing Code

When it’s time to dig, you’ll then see all sorts of machinery. These can range from a jackhammer to huge trucks depending on the scale of the project. As such, you can also expect a high level of noise coming from these machines.

Contractors tend to work in the mornings in residential areas. This is when the sun gives excellent lighting and people are out at work. This way, the drilling and digging noises don’t disturb the sleeping people at night.

As they work through the project, the crew keeps in mind the plumbing code to ensure both the safety and quality of everyone and everything involved.

An assurance quality personnel is also often on-site to oversee the project and make sure everything is according to code. Working with water lines and utility lines rely on attention to detail to be successful.

5. Covering Up the Site

Once the crew gets the job done, they first ensure that the household/s affected are now receiving water like normal. They should also check whether there’s no more leak.

Afterward, they also ensure they didn’t do anything that might have caused further damage. This is crucial because if they don’t assure everything’s in place afterward, they’ll have to dig again. This is a huge waste of time, money, and resources.

We don’t leave the gaping hole that can attract accidents. We cover it up and restore all the disturbed areas to their previous state. If it’s on a lawn, they cover it up again with soil, and if it’s on the street, they perform cement work.

If it’s a job well done, you won’t even notice that there had been repairs on that area, except for the look of a fresh slab of cement.

6. Other Notes About Main Water Line Repair

Outside the actual work done by the professionals, there are other things you can expect to happen that will involve you.

For instance, they’ll instruct you on how you can protect valuable stuff in your property. Drilling and digging will cause dust and dirt to fly around. Drilling and the equipment might also disturb the landscaping and else.

It’s the contractor’s responsibility to inform you and the other houses of this. The contractors often carry tarps and plywood to cover your stuff near the worksite. Still, it’s up to you to protect your other stuff.


Depending on the rules in your state, you might be responsible for the main water line repair if the damage is on your property. In this case, it’s up to you to hire a contractor to fix it.


The contract contains all work orders in a way you’ll understand. It should also reflect the fair pricing of the work entailed. This is to avoid any misunderstandings that might arise from the stress of your water main line leaking.

Call a Water Line Replacement or Repair Professional

As you can see, all the steps involved in a main water line repair demands skills and attention to detail. It would be wise on your part to let only professionals handle it and any issue you may have with your water line. Contact us and let us know how we can help.

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