Reporting Main Breaks and Clogs
You can report water main breaks & clogs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays, by calling our 24-hour customer service number. Do not use email to report emergencies.
Don’t assume your neighbor will make the call. The Water Department would rather receive multiple reports about a suspected problem than no calls at all.
Water Main Breaks
Signs of a broken water main are water running down the street and buckled pavement. Main breaks may leave specific areas without water. Based on the size of the main pipeline break and the time required to locate and mark other buried utilities, residents may experience water outages as crews repair breaks and restore water service.
Listed below are all the steps involved in the actual repair of a main break.
Procedures to Repair Main Breaks
- Reports are received at the 24-hour Customer Service Center, 817-392-4477;
- Information regarding the break’s location is logged into the computer system;
- Someone is dispatched to verify if it is a break or a leak, to determine the specific address and specific location of the leak or main break, and to begin the process of closing valves to isolate the break;
- This verification is relayed to dispatch and logged into the computer system;
- Dispatchers contact the firms who mark the locations of all nearby utilities (gas, telephone, electric, cable), so the crew knows what hazards exist where the digging will occur.
- Note: The firms have up to two hours to mark the utilities. Often water personnel arrive before the utility locators, but cannot proceed until they receive approval or until the two hours are exhausted. Having the locations of other underground utilities identified before water crews begin digging is essential. We do not want to damage other underground utilities that could put customers without phone service or result in a gas leak. Striking a buried electrical cable could result in injuries to the employee operating the heavy machinery, as well as anyone else nearby.
- Once approval is received to dig or the two-hour period is expired, a crew will proceed with repairs.
- The repair crew updates the dispatch office on estimated repair time. A standard repair takes four to five hours to complete. If it is determined that more time is required to complete the repair, dispatch is updated with this status.
- Note: Repair crews have speakers on their vehicles and drive through neighborhoods to notify residents who will be without water. This verbal notification is provided about 15 minutes before water is turned off. In some cases, the break itself can cause some customers to lose service.
Sewer backups and overflows are frequently caused by fats, oils and grease being placed into the sewer system. These items are lighter than water and they tend to accumulate in the sewer pipes, very similar to how cholesterol builds up in the body’s blood stream and arteries until a blockage occurs. The backups could result in damage to your property or it could overflow into the storm drain causing environmental damage to rivers and streams.
If your sewer backs up, please contact the Fort Worth Water Department immediately at our 24-hour customer service number 817-392-4477. A crew can make sure the blockage is not in the city-owned portion of the pipe before you incur the expense of a private plumber.
It is also a good idea for all property owners and tenants to become familiar with the general layout of their plumbing system, especially the location of their sewer “clean-out” outlet. The outlet cover is usually located in the yard and allows easy access to the more distant stretches of the private sewer line so blockages may be removed. A plumber can help locate sewer cleanouts.
Residents can aid in preventing clogged sewer lines by not putting grease and greasy food scraps down the sink or garbage disposal. Grease and meat drippings should be collected in a disposable container and thrown into the trash. Any other greasy leftovers (bones, meat trimmings, etc.) should be thrown into the trash.
Owners & operators of restaurants and other commercial facilities need to visit the city’s grease abatement webpage for more information.
To learn more visit Frequently Asked Questions.
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24-hour Customer Service:
P. O. Box 870
Fort Worth, TX 76101
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Chris Harder, P.E.