Common Reasons Water Mains Burst


Water mains bursting can be a major inconvenience and cause significant damage to properties and infrastructure. Understanding the common reasons behind these bursts can help prevent such occurrences and minimize the impact they have on communities. In this blog, we will explore the main causes of water mains bursting and how they can be addressed to prevent future incidents.

1. Corrosion:

One of the leading causes of water main bursts is corrosion. Over time, the materials used in water mains can deteriorate due to exposure to water and other elements, leading to weaknesses and ultimately, bursts. Corrosion can be accelerated by factors such as soil conditions, water chemistry, and the age of the pipes. Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify areas of corrosion early on and prevent bursts from occurring.

2. Ground Shifting and Settlement:

Changes in the ground, such as shifting and settlement, can put stress on water mains and lead to bursts. This can be caused by factors such as seismic activity, changes in soil composition, or excavation work nearby. Properly securing, supporting, and maintaining water mains can help mitigate the effects of ground movement and reduce the risk of bursts.

3. High Water Pressure:

Excessive water pressure in the system can also cause water mains to burst. When the pressure exceeds the capacity of the pipes, they may rupture and result in leaks or bursts. Monitoring water pressure levels and installing pressure-regulating devices can help prevent bursts due to high pressure and ensure the system operates within safe limits.

4. Freezing and Thawing:

In cold climates, water mains are at risk of bursting due to freezing and thawing cycles. When water freezes inside the pipes, it can expand and put pressure on the pipe walls, leading to cracks and bursts. Thawing can also cause sudden changes in pressure that weaken the pipes. Insulating pipes, keeping them well-heated, and ensuring proper drainage can help prevent bursts during freezing temperatures.

5. Pipe Material and Age:

The material used in water mains and their age play a significant role in the likelihood of bursts. Older pipes made of materials such as cast iron or asbestos cement are more prone to corrosion and deterioration, increasing the risk of bursts. Upgrading to newer, more durable materials and conducting regular inspections and replacements can help prevent bursts caused by aging infrastructure.

6. Poor Installation and Maintenance:

Improper installation and lack of maintenance can also contribute to water main bursts. Poorly welded joints, inadequate supports, and insufficient corrosion protection can all weaken the pipes and lead to failures. Regular inspections, repairs, and maintenance of the water distribution system can help identify and address potential issues before they escalate into bursts.


Water mains can burst for a variety of reasons, ranging from corrosion and ground shifting to high water pressure and freezing temperatures. By understanding the common causes of water main bursts and taking proactive measures to address them, such as conducting regular inspections, maintaining proper water pressure, and upgrading aging infrastructure, communities can minimize the risk of bursts and ensure reliable water supply to residents. Collaboration between water utility providers, municipalities, and residents is crucial in identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities in the water distribution system and preventing costly and disruptive water main bursts. By investing in infrastructure upgrades, implementing preventative maintenance measures, and responding promptly to issues, communities can safeguard their water supply and reduce the likelihood of water main bursts in the future.

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Established in 2021, Grade-1 Underground is your number-one go-to company for your underground pipe needs. From Water mains to sewer lines, we have you covered. Grade-1 Underground also provides site work such as excavation, grading, land clearing, and much more. For any questions, please give us a call today!