What to Do if Leaking Water Main Floods Your Basement
November 8, 2018

As winter approaches the number of broken water mains will double. Unfortunately this may result in your basement flooding if the valve or main water line cracks inside your house. In other scenarios the water main may be broken 25’ away under the sidewalk or street, and still travel all the way back into your home.

You may ask “how is it possible that the water would travel this far back into my home”? It is common that the broken pipe is nowhere near where the water is surfacing. A water leak will find the weakest point in the ground and continue to travel below ground until it finds a weak point in the road, sidewalk or foundation wall.

Pinhole leak on main water line inside house
Pinhole leak in water main

If you are experiencing a water leak back in your basement it is first suggested to locate the house sewer trap. If you are lucky enough the house sewer trap is located in the ground, in this case we suggest removing the sewer caps and letting the leaking water travel through your sewer line and out to the city sewer. In the case of a pinhole leak it is much easier to manage as the amount of water is limited and can simply be diverted into a bucket for a short period of time. The risk in this scenario is that the pipe bursts and this minor leak becomes a huge problem.

Water main leaks under sidewalk and shows up in house

In other cases you may have to make a diversion for the water to travel and reach the sewer trap. This can really be done with any form of a bucket, pipe or even a piece of metal for the water to travel along until it hits the sewer trap. In this picture above there was a great deal of water entering the basement which was leaking from the water main under the sidewalk.

The homeowner had a lead pipe which required the entire service line to be replaced on an emergency basis from the street, to inside the house.

Digging for the new water line installation
Digging for the new water line installation
New copper water line is installed
New copper water line is installed

In another scenario a utility contractor was working in the roadway in front of the building and hit the property owners water main by accident. The entire basement was flooded within minutes and in this case the volume of water was too great for the old sewer trap trick.

Basement flood from broken water main

The water had to be turned off from the roadway on an emergency basis before the repair was completed.

Water main turn off in street
Broken pipe in roadway