When EBMUD crews are in your neighborhood

Crews fixing a main break

Crews fixing a main break

When a pipe breaks or when crews are building planned improvements, EBMUD works quickly and efficiently, night or day, to protect public health and the environment, and to restore water service to customers. When you see an EBMUD crew on your street or in your neighborhood repairing or replacing water pipelines, remember:
  • This is a construction zone. Safety is our highest priority. Orange cones and barricades keep you out and keep you safe, and protect workers too. You may see EBMUD workers directing traffic, acting as spotters and practicing a variety of safety measures. When driving past a work site, slow down!
  • If pipelines break, brief water service interruptions to your home or business may be unavoidable. If your water is shut off while crews work in your neighborhood, use your emergency water supply until repairs are made and service is turned back on.
  • If you see a broken hydrant, flooding in the street or into local creeks, or suspicious activity, report it by calling 1-866-40-EBMUD. Maintenance crews are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have no water, it is advisable that you shut the water supply valves to toilets in your home.

Once water is restored, run water through your front hose bib – the outdoor faucet at the front of the house – until the water runs clear. Also run cold water from the faucets inside the home for 1-3 minutes until the water is clear. Then turn your toilets back on.

Yes. EBMUD crews follow rigorous procedures to ensure that pipes are clean when responding to a break.

Pressure in your pipes may create the appearance of cloudy, milky or foamy water. This is air under pressure in your water pipes much like carbon dioxide in a bottle of soda. Turning on the faucet releases the pressure, causing the air bubbles to appear. The water is safe to drink. Run the water at your hose bib first. Once clear, run the cold water at your interior fixtures. If you allow a glass of water to stand for a few moments, the air bubbles will rise to the surface and will clear within minutes. 

Discoloration in water, such as a light yellow to dark brown color, may occur when pipeline sediment in the water is stirred during pipeline repair work. The discoloration is caused by dissolved iron which is stirred up by turning valves, flushing hydrants or reversing water in mains that are being returned to service. To remove the discoloration, run your front hose bib first and once clear proceed to run the cold water at your interior fixtures. 

Low water pressure may occur as EBMUD restores water service back to customers following a pipeline repair. EBMUD is careful to gradually restore pressure to avoid other potential main breaks.

Eventually all pipes fail due to a variety of factors including age, pipe material, installation methods, surrounding soil conditions, and ground movement. The exact cause of each break is determined by our investigators and that information is used to prioritize and plan for future pipeline replacement projects.

Aging pipes are a national problem. EBMUD's pipeline replacement program focuses on protecting the environment and public health. Pipe replacements represent about a third of our planned investments in capital improvements. We also work with other agencies to coordinate work in various neighborhoods, to save money and reduce impacts to neighbors.

It varies depending on where the break is and how it happens. Pipe repair can be complicated; crews sometimes work for hours to locate the origin of a leak and then repair the line. Certain repairs can take longer if special equipment is required, or if there are other utilities in the area that need work first. Our priority is to safely resume service to customers as quickly as we can.

Water service is resumed after repairs are complete and EBMUD has tested the line.

You may see crews working to repair infrastructure that has broken unexpectedly, or crews may be working on scheduled improvements. Here is a list of planned projects that are being built now, or are planned.