Damaged Water Mains & Pipes
Water Infrastructure Emergencies
Call us for
- Water main breaks
- Open hydrants
- Neighborhood flooding
- Water in basement
Our hotline takes calls and dispatches crews to investigate and/or fix problems.
When water mains burst or leak, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will work to restore water service as safely and quickly as possible. Here is what we do:
How we respond to a water main break:
When you report a water emergency, we collect your contact information and description of the emergency.
An inspector investigates the problem: What type of leak? How urgent? Is it possibly from a main or a customer water pipe?
An emergency crew shuts down the main if it is causing damage or flooding and a repair crew is assigned.
If we need to dig, a call is made to PA One Call, and other utilities are marked, including gas, electric, and other lines.
If it’s our main, the repair crew digs, repairs or replaces the damaged pipe, and coordinates arrangements for traffic.
Repair crews flush the line, disinfect the main if needed, and patch the road.
How to respond when there’s a problem.
A licensed plumber must do the work.
PWD is not responsible for your plumbing.
If plumbing connecting your home to our water mains and sewers break or your pipes freeze, you must have it fixed.
Failure to address problems can damage your home and your block.
Note: This diagram shows a combined sanitary and storm sewer. Some areas of Philadelphia have separate sewers.
- Sanitary and Stormwater Lateral
- Vent Cover
- Vent Pipe
- Curb Trap
- Main House Drain
- Water Service Pipe
- Water Supply Pipe
- Curb Stop
- Curb Stop Box
- Supply Valves
- Water Meter
- Water Main
- Combined Storm and Sanitary Sewer
- Stormwater Inlet
Clean water plumbing outside the home:
The ferrule (J) connects the water main to your underground water service pipe (K), which connects to the curb stop (M). Access to the curb stop must be maintained through its box and cover (N), usually located near the curb line in front of your home. Next, water flows through a water supply pipe (L) and into your home.
Clean water plumbing inside the home:
The supply valves (O) are located on either side of your water meter (P). The Water Department owns the water meter, but homeowners are responsible for keeping the meter and valves in good condition and accessible at all times.
The homeowner must maintain household waste pipes and all pipes leading up to the sewer. This includes the main house drain (I), curb trap (H), sanitary and stormwater lateral (D), slant (E), vent cover (F), and vent pipe (G).
Work near your home can sometimes allow sediment and debris to enter your pipes.
Tips for clearing debris from your pipes after street repairs:
- Run your cold water faucets for several minutes in order to release air and remove debris from the system.
- Use your bathtub, laundry faucets, or a garden hose when possible for flushing your system, as they generally have a larger capacity and do not have aerator screens to trap debris.
- Clean aerators (faucet screens) to remove debris that might clog the water fixture.