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Posted on: February 3, 2021

Change in Weather Temperatures and Water Main Breaks

Soical Image Public Works Alert

The Village of Lombard's Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance and repair for approximately 195 miles of underground water mains. While most of these water mains do not freeze, when temperatures are well below twenty degrees (20o) outside, freezing soil may shift when it contracts, causing pipes to move and increasing the likelihood of a water main break and subsequent repair.

Here are a few other reasons why pipes/mains may break:

  • Construction crews hitting mains during groundbreaking, Call 811 before you dig to locate the pipes
  • Ground movement
  • Corrosive soil conditions
  • Weaknesses where two pipes are joined together, that start as slow leaks and can lead to big problems
  • Weight of soil constantly pushing down on pipes
  • Aging infrastructure, this is a national problem and will require huge amounts of money and political will to fix
  • Weak seals.
  • Temperature changes that can cause the soil to expand and contract, putting stress on pipes.
  • Normal aging
  • Surprisingly, even water has corrosive properties and can break down the inside of the pipe over a long period of time

Unfortunately, since the breaks occur underground, in most cases we can only speculate as to how exactly the pipe broke. The Village of Lombard will proactively rehabilitate or replace pipes that are nearing the end of their life cycle. While crews maintain and repair pipes, service lines, hydrants, and water main locations year round, the Village of Lombard experiences a slight increase in emergency repairs when the ground is either freezing or thawing due to extreme cold. 

When a pipe/main breaks

  • The Village of Lombard prioritizes and water main breaks. If several water mains break at the same time, areas most impacted (traffic hazards) will be prioritized. 
  • Slippery conditions are likely and salt will be used to reduce ice. If water or ice is on the road, traffic lanes may remain closed until temperatures are warm enough to make asphalt for repaving.
  • Before repairs can be made, Village of Lombard Public Works calls 8-1-1 (Illinois One Call) to have underground gas and other utilities marked (spray painted).
  • To repair drinking water pipes, Public Works may temporarily shut off water to the broken pipe.
    1. Customers may experience air in their pipes or cloudy, discolored water after service resumes.
    2. Customers should run the cold water for up-to-10 minutes.
    3. If conditions do not improve, please call Village of Lombard Public works at 630 620 5740.


Water Main Break (1)

Water Main Break (2)
Water Main Break (3)

Water Main Break (4)

Water Main Break (5)

Water Main Break (6)

Public Works employees work 24/7 to provide an excellent level of drinking water, as well as wastewater services to residents and businesses of Lombard, if you are experiencing a water emergency, call Village of Lombard Public Works at (630)620-5740.

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