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What causes a water main break

​There are a number of reasons why the water may be off in your home or business. One of the most common causes is a water main break. Here are a few reasons why a water main break can occur.

Natural causes

Extreme temperature fluctuations in the winter and spring are a leading cause of water outages. As the ground freezes and thaws several times, it can shift the earth and cause water mains to break.

Learn how to preven​t frozen pipes and a frozen water line on your property before it happens.

Construction work

Water outages can occur when underground pipes are accidentally hit and damaged during construction work. It's important to confirm where water lines are before starting to dig. Visit Utility Safety Partner's Click Before You Dig to submit a locate request and ensure you are safe to proceed.

If you think you have a leak, view information about how to report a water leak.​

Signs of a water main break

Water main breaks can affect the water service in your home or business. During a water main break, you may experience a loss of water pressure, discoloured water or a complete water outage in your home. If you're not sure if your water service issues are being caused by a water main break, here are some other signs of a water main break that you can look for.

  • Water coming up from the ground
  • A pool of water on the road, not near a drain or catch basin
  • Steam coming off the water in the winter

What to do if you think there's a water main break in your area

If you suspect a water main break, check our water outage map to see if it's listed and learn the estimated time until the water is fixed. If it's not on our outage map, call our 24/7 emergency line at (780) 412-4500 and let us know about the issue.

If you see water on your property/driveway, call us at (780) 412-4500. We'll come out to turn off the water and investigate where the water is coming from and if a water main break has occurred.

 Experiencing a water outage?

If you're experiencing a water outage or sudden loss of water pressure, check our map for current water outages and impacts to see if your neighbo​ur​hood is listed.

View our water outage map​​

 Investing in our water main infrastructure

EPCOR Water has initiated a wide range of activities over many years to reduce the number of water main breaks including performing preventative maintenance, water main replacements and renewals​, and cathodic protection for water mains that are most prone to break. The impact of these measures is seen in overall year-over-year decreases for the number of main breaks

We started replacing cast iron mains in the mid-1980s, and our water main breaks have decreased overall by more than 80 per cent. Approximately only 540 KM out of 4,300 KM of pipe maintained by EPCOR is cast iron.  

Since 1997, cathodic protection has been used to extend the life of cast iron water mains by protecting them from corrosion. Cathodic protection is a proven and effective method to reduce break frequency and extend the useful life of those pipes. EPCOR reviewed the effectiveness of cathodic protection in 2004 and 2007. The review showed that water main breaks are approximately 48 per cent lower on protected sections of pipe. Currently, we aim to add cathodic protection to 10 KM of cast iron pipe each year, in addition to replacing cast iron mains to accommodate City of Edmonton projects.​​


Call us to report a water outage. We're here to help.

Don’t see your current water issue listed on our water outage map? Report Edmonton water outages or other water system troubles by calling our 24/7 emergency line.

Call us at (780) 412-4500