When your water main bursts, you have a plumbing emergency on your hands. One reason why a water main leak is so serious is that you may not be able to get the water turned off on your own. The water main runs from your house to the street, and the only way to stop water flowing in the pipe is to turn off the water using the valve on your water meter. Here's what you may need to do when you have a water main leak.
Call Your Water Company First
Your water company may have workers on call to respond to emergencies like water main breaks. While your water department won't repair a water pipe that's on your property, they may come out and shut off the water so that you can have repairs done. The water office may prefer to send someone out rather than allow you to turn off the valve yourself since you could be responsible for any damage you might cause. Not only that, but you will also probably need a special tool for turning the valve.
Call an Emergency Plumber
Even if you call the city to turn off your water, you still need a plumber to repair the pipe. Being without water is usually a dire situation, so getting emergency repairs will be required. The plumber you call will assess the situation and help you decide on the right way to fix your problem, especially if your pipe bursts in the middle of the night.
Replace or Repair the Pipe
A water main is under the ground, and it may even be under your driveway. However, if water is bubbling up from the ground, you'll have a good idea where the leak is located. If the location of the leak isn't obvious, then the plumber can use detecting equipment to find it. Then the plumber has to decide if it's best to replace or repair the pipe. This depends on the condition of the pipe. If the water main is leaking due to tree roots or some other localized damage, repairs may be all that's needed. If the pipe burst because it's old, corroded, and nearly rusted through in several places, then the pipe should be replaced. Once the leak is fixed, then the valve at the water meter can be turned back on by the plumber or the city, and the leak problem will be solved.
Watch for Water Contamination
When water spews out of a pipe that's buried in the soil, dirt and contaminants can flow into the pipe and circulate throughout your plumbing. Leave all of your faucets on for several minutes when repairs are complete to rinse out any debris that flowed into your pipes. Ask your plumber how long you need to flush out the pipes before you can start using the water again.
To learn more about water main repair, contact a plumber today.