What should I do after a water main break?

Unfortunately, water main breaks can happen at any time. While they often damage roads and other town property, a water main failure can cause significant water damage to your home or business as well.

Steps to Take After A Water Main Break

Call the Water Division at the Public Works Department at 781-275-7605

You should report any sign of a water main break. The Bedford Public Works Water Division will inspect the damage and determine the proper repair procedure. Repair crews may need to turn off the water or interrupt other utilities. In most cases, they will close off the area so they can excavate and make repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage, repairs can take between a few hours and several weeks. The latest updates are posted online on our DPW webpages.

  • Limit Water Use - Try to limit water use during a water main break. Avoid drinking tap water, taking a shower or bath, doing laundry, or running the dishwasher. Dirt, debris, and bacteria can contaminate water after a water main break. The Town will advise you if the water is safe to use. In rare instances, we may impose a boil warning or a boil alert. If a boil warning is issued, you should boil water for at least 5 minutes to kill bacteria and parasites and boil off impurities.
  • Flush Your Pipes - After the water main is repaired, open all fixtures and allow water to run until clear. Start by opening the cold water faucets and allow them to run for at least 2 minutes after they run clear. Then run the hot water until it's hot. Wait an hour or two and then run the hot water again. This ensures that your hot water tank is flushed. You should also run the washing machine and dishwasher several times as well. Ideally, run two cycles completely empty to clear the water lines, then a third time with just detergent to clean the units themselves.

After experiencing a water main break, the water system is flushed by the water department. In most cases, you will not notice any difference in your water, but there is a chance you may have air in the line or notice a reddish or murky color. Flushing your system after the water has been restored is a good practice and should take care of those problems. If you have any questions, please call the water division at 781-275-7605.

Show All Answers

1. What is a water main?
2. What causes a water main break?
3. What happens when a water main breaks?
4. Signs of a water main break?
5. What are signs of a water main break inside your home?
6. What are signs of a water main break outside your home?
7. What should I do after a water main break?
8. How long does it take to fix a water main break?