DPW Adds More Crews to Respond to Water Main Breaks

Dept. of Public Works press release header

Due to the near record-setting cold temperatures gripping the region, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is experiencing an increase in the number of water main breaks throughout Baltimore City and County, with nearly three dozen water main breaks occurring over the last several days.

DPW maintenance crews from the Bureau of Water and Wastewater will start working mandatory 12-hour shifts to address the water main breaks and leaks. The Department is also utilizing private contractors to help expedite these repairs. To expedite water main repairs, DPW crews will handle breaks in neighborhoods; the contractors will be assigned to breaks on major throughways.

“We want citizens to know that DPW is committed to repairing water mains as quickly as possible,” said DPW Director Rudolph S. Chow, P.E. “I request the public’s patience as we work to make these repairs.”

As a result of the cold temperatures, mechanical street sweeping has been cancelled every day this week except for Wednesday.

Protect Your Pipes

DPW reminds customers that pipes and utility meters can freeze when the temperature remains below 25 degrees for extended periods of time. The following tips to help protect water lines during periods of cold weather:

  • Let a thin stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. The stream should be a continuous flow, about the thickness of a pencil lead. This water can be caught in a bucket and used later.
  • If your interior pipe is frozen, warm it with hot air from a blow dryer where it enters your house.
  • Be sure you know the location of the water shutoff valve in your home. Check it periodically to ensure it works properly.
  • Be sure to disconnect and drain hoses, and shut off water to outside faucets.
  • Monitor your sump pump. A frozen drain pipe could result in a flooded basement.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated parts of your house. Be alert if you have had frozen pipes in the past.
  • Always keep on hand a three day supply of bottled water; one gallon per person per day.
  • Consider getting a service protection policy for your exterior water/sewer lines. Baltimore has partnered with HomeServe USA to provide this low cost protection. Please visit BaltimoreServiceRepairs.com.

As a reminder, DPW maintains outdoor water lines up to and including the meter. Water lines running from the meter to the house, and internal plumbing, are the responsibility of the property owner. For water emergencies in Baltimore City, please call 311, or call 410-396-5352 in our Baltimore County service area.

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After hours, weekends, or holidays please call 410-396-3100 for the duty officer

The Baltimore City Department of Public Works supports the health, environment, and economy of our City and region by cleaning our neighborhoods and waterways and providing its customers with safe drinking water and sustainable energy practices.