Thursday, December 7, 2017

Report Water Main Breaks to Fairfax Water

Winter is coming and with it broken water mains. Temperatures going from freezing to simply cool can cause water mains to expand and contract, putting stress on vulnerable areas. This stress can cause water main breaks that disrupt water service and traffic. You can track active water main breaks and real-time status updates using the tracking tool at Fairfax Water at this link.

Water from Fairfax Water is distributed through approximately 3,200 miles of water mains to the county’s homes and businesses. It is a lot of piping to keep track of. You can also help Fairfax Water by serving as their extra eyes. If you see water coming from the ground or street, then notify Fairfax Water by: Emailing or calling 703-698-5613, TTY 711. Though much of that distribution system in Fairfax is newer than the national average and Fairfax has a good repair and replacement strategy, they still have about 600 or so water main breaks a year and their repair crews are very busy during the winter months.

Although winter weather is often the cause of breaks this time of year, there are a number of reasons water mains break. The age of the pipe often affects its vulnerability to breaks. Changes in water pressure within the pipes, vibrations caused by construction or heavy traffic, or changes in soil conditions caused by erosion or flooding can all lead to water main breaks.

In an emergency, having a supply of clean water is essential and should be part of a winter emergency kit. If there is a water main break or power outage (pumps are necessary to move the water through the piping system) you could have your water supply disrupted. Now is a good time to store emergency water:
  • Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum three-day supply. Be sure to account for pets; dogs and cats typically need one gallon each per day. 
  • Store water in a cool, dark place in your home. Replace water every six months and be sure to check expiration dates on store-bought water.
  • Use of food-grade water storage containers, such as those found at surplus or camping-supply stores, is recommended if you prepare stored water yourself. Be sure to disinfect the storage containers first. 
  • In case of a blizzard you might also want to store extra food in the winter so that you can wait until the roads are clear to go out.

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