How Your Plumber Repairs Your Damaged Water Main

You expect your plumbing to work perfectly when you need to shower, wash dishes, or just wash your hands. However, your main water pipeline is leaking—and as a result, you're experiencing a lack of water pressure, constant air pockets, and even dirty water. Unfortunately, repairing a water main is an extensive process that should be left to your plumber. Here's how your plumber gets the job done:


There's a significant amount of preparation that your plumber must undertake before they can start repairing your line. Here's what they'll do to prepare for the task:

  • Camera Inspection

    • Accessing your water supply pipeline is an extremely intrusive process. For this reason, your plumber will rout a sewer camera throughout your main water line to locate the damaged section of piping. This allows your plumber to gain access to the damaged portion of your water main while causing minimal damage to your yard.

    • If your plumber can easily locate and identify the type of damage your water main has sustained, then they can determine the type of repair that's necessary before excavating your yard. This allows your plumber to give you an accurate estimate for their services.

  • Underground Obstacles

    • Your water main isn't the only thing beneath your front yard. Depending on your neighborhood, there may be gas, power, and even telephone lines routed underneath your yard. Before your plumber can begin any work, they'll need to contact your local utility company for in-depth information about these potential obstacles.

Once these preparations have been taken, your plumber can begin the excavation that's required to access your water main.

Breaking Ground

Now that your plumber knows which area of your pipeline needs to be accessed for repairs, they can begin excavating the area of your yard under which your main water supply pipeline is located.

Depending on the depth of your pipeline, this task may be performed with equipment ranging from shovels and pickaxes to skid-steers and backhoes. The depth of your pipeline depends on several conditions such as your local climate and building codes. For example, if the climate in your city if frequently below freezing temperatures, then your water line will be deeper to prevent it from freezing during the winter.

Repair or Replacement

Once your yard is excavated, your plumber will finally have access to your damaged pipeline. Depending on the amount of damage your water main sustained, your plumber will either repair the damage or replace the damaged pipes.

  • Pipe Repair

    • In most cases, your plumber will only choose to repair the damaged pipe if they're able to clamp it. Pipe clamps consist of a thick, metal cylinder that's tightened with bolt and nut assemblies. Clamping a pipe requires significantly less labor than repairing a pipe, and it's likely to last throughout the rest of the original pipe's lifetime.

  • Pipe Replacement

    • To replace a heavily damaged pipe, your plumber will need to remove the pipe (often times requiring a saw), along with any foreign matter that entered your pipeline. Once this is done, your plumber will fit new pipe couplings and a new pipe.

    • Heavy damage to water supply pipelines is commonly caused by movements in the terrain surrounding the pipeline. If one of your main water pipes was heavily damaged, then it's likely that others will soon require repair as well—if they don't already. In such a case, you should consider replacing your entire line while your yard is already excavated.

Once the pipe repair or replacement is complete, your plumber will then turn your water supply back on and check for leaks. If the repair or replacement pipes work perfectly, then your plumber will backfill your yard and call it a day.

As you can see, repairing a damaged water supply pipeline requires extensive knowledge and labor. Instead of attempting to complete such a physically demanding task by yourself, give your plumber a call right away or click for more info if you suspect that your water main is damaged.