What to Know: Arlington Water Utilities Provides These Important Tips as Crews Deal with Unusually High Number of Water Main Breaks This Summer
By Traci Peterson, Arlington Water Utilities
Posted on July 21, 2022, July 21, 2022

Arlington Water Utilities employee repairing water main break.

Arlington is experiencing an unusually high number of water main breaks because of the dry and hot conditions this summer. Below is more information to help residents who may be affected.

What is different about this summer?

By mid-July, Arlington had experienced more than 50 water distribution main breaks for the month and approximately 50 “other” leaks, such as at connections to meter boxes or individual service lines. This is more than twice what would normally be experienced for this time of year. In addition to the extra work, Arlington Water Utilities crews are facing more dangerous working conditions as the heat index rises.

What happens when a main breaks?

Just like in an emergency room, Arlington Water Utilities triages water main breaks to determine its priority. Some of the prioritizing factors we consider are the amount of water being lost, and the number of customers affected by service outages. We try to make all repairs as quickly as possible. Some of the first steps in that process are:

  • Calling for line location services to make sure that digging in the area is safe and our crews won’t hit other utilities like natural gas lines.
  • Isolating the area of the water distribution system affected (as well as the number of homes and businesses without water) by shutting off valves to the area.

Most leaks are at least isolated within a couple of hours to reduce water loss and repaired within 4 hours. Customers with email addresses on file with Arlington Water Utilities will be sent an email if a water outage is affecting their area. When possible, crews on site will post notes on the doors of affected customers.

You can check ArlingtonTX.gov/wateroutages anytime to find out the status of a water outage and the estimated time for repair.

What if my water is out because of a break?

Please know that Arlington Water Utilities is working as quickly as possible to fix water main breaks. Please remember to turn faucets off after checking to see if your water has been restored. Leaving faucets open when water is off can increase the air in water service lines.

Food service establishments are required to close when there is a water outage affecting their water service, according to licensing guidelines.

When the water comes back on, you may want to run the water to clear out your home plumbing and release any pockets of air. Unless you are notified otherwise, the water can be used normally when water service resumes. Our crews are careful to keep positive water pressure in the lines as repairs are made. This keeps outside contaminants like bacteria in the soil from entering the system during repairs. Steps that are taken by our crews, such as flushing the fire hydrants near a break with water and sampling the water for chlorine residuals, help to ensure safety when the water service comes back on.

It is not possible at this time for Arlington Water to provide temporary water (bottled water or water coolers) to every address where water service is interrupted. However, if repairs take longer than anticipated or a special circumstance exists, please call us at 817-459-5900 to discuss options for temporary water relief.

What can I do to help?

  • Please let Arlington Water Utilities know about any water leak that you notice by calling 817-459-5900, our 24-hour hotline.
  • If you have been alerted of a planned shutdown of water service, please draw the water you might need for consumption in the next 2-4 hours.
  • If your water is off and you know it is because of an emergency repair, you might let your neighbors know and check on residents that may not have e-mail or computer access. Arlington Water Utilities attempts to contact every customer affected by the water service interruption, but sometimes we miss a few or homes. Or in extreme cases where property damage may be occurring the shutdown may need to be done before all the notifications are completed.
  • If you don’t have an active e-mail with Arlington Water Utilities, please log on to ArlingtonTX.gov/KnowYourH2O or call 817-275-5931.
  • Please be patient. If there is a repair taking place in your neighborhood, please pardon our mess and watch for construction equipment and workers. We will have service restored as quickly as we possibly can.

What happens after the break is repaired?

Along with a high number of breaks comes a backlog of parkway/street/curb/sidewalk repairs associated with the restoration work. Arlington Water Utilities is working to add contracted services for these street repairs. We appreciate your patience as this work is assigned and completed.

Arlington Water Utilities is evaluating each main break to determine if longer term solutions are needed to prevent future disruptions. That mean some areas where breaks occur are being moved up in the City of Arlington’s list of upcoming capital improvement projects. This short and long-term planning process already considers break data and is updated regularly.

Arlington Water Utilities also started an in-house construction crew a few years ago. This means the department can respond quickly and cost-efficiently with a replacement project if a neighborhood is suffering a large amount of water system breaks.

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