Water Service Disruptions

Disruptions to your water service can occur from time to time throughout the year. This can be due to a water main break, service repair or replacement. In these cases, a Drinking Water Advisory card will be dropped off at each home or business that is affected. If a drinking water advisory card has been delivered to your home, you can track the progress of the repair.

Reporting a water main break

Common signs of a water main break include:

  • Running water on the street
  • A sinkhole
  • Water suddenly not turning on
  • Sudden changes to water pressure

If you think there may be a water main break, please contact us immediately to report it.

Picture of home showing the service line connections
This photo outlines the property owner's responsibility as set out in the Waterworks Sewer and Water Management bylaw.

Causes of water main breaks

Pipe age and condition, soil condition, pipe material and pressure changes in the water system can all play a part in a water main breaks, but one of the biggest causes is freezing temperatures.

Cold temperatures in the winter cause water mains to contract and in the spring warmer temperatures cause pipes to expand. In some cases, especially with cast iron pipes where there is very little flexibility, this is enough to cause a break in the water main. The freeze-thaw cycle in the spring can also cause the ground to shift which contributes to water main breaks.

Water break repair timelines

A drinking water advisory is typically lifted between 8 and 14 days.

There are eight steps to a repair that happen before a drinking water advisory can be lifted:

  1. Repair location identified
  2. Drinking water advisory notice hand delivered
  3. Utilities located
  4. Pipe excavated and repaired
  5. Water turned on
  6. Flush, pressurize and test pipe
  7. Water quality tested
  8. Drinking water advisory lifted, notice hand delivered

The excavation and repair of the pipe is typically done in under 48 hours. The main flushing, water quality testing and delivery of drinking water advisory lifted cards can take longer. The length of time can also depend on outside factors including other water main breaks, needs for re-sampling or unknown underground conditions.

Discolored water

Occasionally you may experience discolored water - brown in colour. Discolored water often happens when there is a change in water flow. This can be caused by many different things including plumbing work on your property or routine operations (e.g., water main breaks, fire hydrant use, water main flushing, etc.).

If you have discolored water:

  1. Remove the aerators (screens) from your tap;
  2. Turn on the cold water tap – preferably the tap located nearest to your water meter; and
  3. Let the water run for approximately 5 to 10 minutes or until water clears up.

If the problem continues, please call Public Works or complete the Water Quality Concern Form so we can investigate.

Note: If you have discolored water and your neighbours do not, then the hot water tank or the pipes in your home are likely causing the problem and you may want to contact a plumber.

Service repairs and maintenance

Our Public Works department undertakes maintenance work each year related to the repair or replacement of valves, hydrants or curb stops. There are as many as 350 maintenance digs each year.

If you would like a Utility Line Locate Request, please click on the request form below.

Utility Line Locate Request Form