More Cold Weather Coming: DPW Offers Advice to Citizens

Dept. of Public Works press release header

As Baltimore braces for a week of freezing temperatures and a predicted mixed-bag of precipitation on Tuesday, DPW crews are busy repairing broken water mains.  Extreme temperatures, and the resulting freezing and thawing activity, leads to an increase in water main breaks and leaks.  Public Works crews are already working to repair over 30 water main breaks that have occurred over the last several days.  Nine (9) of these were called in to the 311 call center just yesterday. To expedite repairs, DPW has enlisted the service of our on-call contractors; city work crews will repair the rest.  DPW is monitoring weather conditions and workers are on-standby, prepared to extend working hours from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, or even 16-hour shifts, if warranted.

Baltimore residents are reminded that 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. The following are a few tips to help protect your water lines during cold weather snaps:

  • Let a very thin continuous stream of cold water run from a basement faucet. Water is less likely to freeze, and damage pipes and meters, when it is running. The water can be caught in a bucket and used later.
  • If an interior pipe is frozen, warm it with hot air from a blow dryer where it enters your house.
  • Check your water shut-off valve to make sure it is working.
  • 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.
  • 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 for this low cost protection. Visit:

For water emergencies in Baltimore City, please call 311, or call 410-396-5352 in our Baltimore County service area.

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Jeffrey Raymond
Kurt Kocher
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.