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Cold Weather Contributes to Water Main Breaks

December 08, 2009

As the weather turns cold, water main breaks become increasingly more common. Pipe corrosion, soil conditions, age and ground movement can also cause a water main break, creating unexpected problems for customers and motorists.

Since 2007, the average number of winter time breaks per year is 241. In 2009, the month of January experienced the largest number of breaks at 112.

Main repairs are scheduled based on several factors: severity of the break, impact to customers and the environment, potential damage to public and private property, and unsafe traffic conditions due to street flooding. Emergency water main breaks can cause widespread service disruptions and are considered critical repairs by DC WASA crews. Before making repairs, crews determine the exact origin of the break, and the approximate number of customers who are without water. This information is relayed to our Command Center, who posts the information on the DC WASA website.

DC WASA asks customers to provide specific information about the location and appearance of the break when reporting a water emergency. This information is necessary in order to investigate and repair the water main break.

To report a water main break, call DC WASA’s 24-hour Command Center at (202) 612-3400. For current repairs, visit and click the “Current Workzones” link.