Water Main Breaks

Water main breaks are often discovered by the presence of running water or area flooding and can affect the water pressure to customers in the area of the break. During cold weather and freeze/thaw cycles, main breaks are more likely to occur due to shifting ground and related stress on underground pipes. If you see or experience signs of a water main break, please notify the City of Dubuque Water Department by calling 563.589.4291.

Customers may also experience disrupted water service because of other issues, such as frozen pipes or a frozen meter in their home. The Water Department offers tips on how to Protect Pipes and Water Meters from Freezing Temperatures.

Once a possible main break is reported, Water Department staff will assess the issue and, depending upon the location and nature of the issue, respond appropriately. When a water main breaks and while repairs are being made, customers may experience a disruption in their water service, a reduction in pressure, or water discoloration.  

After Repairs are Made

When water service is restored, there may be air in your water piping and the water may be discolored. Water main breaks can stir up or dislodge mineral deposits in the water lines and rust-colored water is possible in the area.  Run cold water taps/faucets to clear the discoloration.

It is recommended to run the first water from a faucet that does not have an aerator screen, such a laundry or bath tub or an outside hose faucet.

Open the faucet slowly to allow the air the escape. Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run until it is clear. The water may be cloudy at first due to air in the water or particles that dislodged as the pipes filled with water. This should clear fairly quickly. Continue this procedure with the reminder of your faucets.

If water is cloudy throughout the house and it does not clear after allowing the water to run for several minutes, contact the City of Dubuque Water Department at 563.589.4291. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your cooperation.

Boil Advisories & Orders

If the break results in a significant pressure drop in service lines, a boil water advisory or order may be required.  These incidents are not common and affected customers will be contacted through Alert Iowa emergency notifications and alerts will be posted on www.cityofdubuque.org/water and the City’s social media channels.