Water main breaks are unavoidable and unpredictable. Arlington has more than 500 miles of water mains and more than 60 percent of them are 55 years or older; the oldest dates back to 1927. In the winter months with extreme temperature fluctuations, breaks and leaks are common.
We’re always on the lookout for pipe breaks. The Water, Sewer and Streets team monitors water pressure at various points in the system – a drop in pressure can signal a problem. Even so, staff frequently learns about a break when residents call the 24-hour hotline [(703-228-6555)] to report low or no water pressure.
Once crews find a leak, they work to stop the flow to the broken section. This might cause a temporary service disruption in the area. After isolating the broken section, the crew repairs or replaces it based on the break type and severity.
In most cases, repairs are made within several hours to a day. However, repairs on major water mains may require complex repairs that take longer.
- First, crew members close the upstream and downstream valves on a segment of main to stop the flow to a broken section.
- Next, the crew repairs the pipe or if necessary removes the cracked section.
- Finally, a new segment of pipe is positioned in place. Once connected, the main is returned to service.
- After ensuring the main has been repaired, the trench is backfilled, and compacted, street is resurfaced, and readied for normal usage.
Crew members are prepared to work in all weather conditions and day or night to return water mains to service as soon as possible.
We’re working constantly to keep your water running, but remember: we need your help. Report ALL water emergencies and possible main breaks to Arlington County’s 24 hour emergency hotline at 703-228-6555 and we’ll take it from there.
Visit the Water, Sewer and Streets website: water.arlingtonva.us