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Water Main Construction
101 Barker Street
Racine, WI 53402
The Racine Water Utility contracts
with local construction companies for water main construction projects
throughout the area. This work is part
of an area wide facilities improvement program by the Racine Water Utility to
ensure reliable water service to its customers.
Please read the following list of questions and answers for further
For a printable map of Water Main Construction scheduled for 2016 click here.
Replacing a water main consists of several phases. In the first phase, the contractor will set up traffic control signs and barrels and may partially close the road. Around the same time, the contractor will also saw cut the pavement to make way for the new water main trench. Materials and supplies will also be delivered around the same time, and are typically placed in the curb area or in the parkway in front of the sidewalk.
In the next phase, the contractor will begin actual construction by digging a trench and installing new pipe, new valves, and new hydrants. Each trench portion is back filled as soon as the new pipe is installed, allowing customers to access their driveways as soon as possible. The new water main is then tested, a process which typically takes one or two weeks to complete.
Once the new water main has passed its testing, the homes and buildings are then connected onto the new pipe. If your home has a lead water service, the Utility will typically replace a portion of the lead service with new copper material. More information on lead services can be found further along in this FAQ.
The final phase is street restoration work, where the contractor will place asphalt or concrete over the trench and open the street up to traffic. The contractor will also restore grass, sidewalk, and other disturbed areas at this time.
Residents will be delivered a construction notification handout, which is typically delivered door to door several weeks prior to construction. The construction notification will have further information on when each particular project will begin.
Generally speaking, you can expect to see construction off and on for at least 3 weeks.
Most projects will involve the closing of several lanes or roads near the project location; there is a good chance that you will be affected by these closures. Apart from street closures, your water service may also be turned off as the Utility makes water pipe connections, and also as it installs new water service tubing to your building.
If the project is a water main replacement, then the entire project is paid for by the Utility, funded by water rates. This is the case 99% of the time. So if you or your landlord are getting Water bills in the mail, then there is no charge for the water main replacement.
If the project is a new water main extension, placing water main where there was none before, then you will likely be charged for your share of the improvement. If this is the case, you will be contacted by the City or Village months prior to any actual construction.
The contractor will likely close the road to through traffic as the work is being performed. However, you will still be able to drive into the work zone and access your driveway. The contractor will work with you to move equipment as needed should they be blocking your way. However, there may be a short time (1-2 hours) as the contractor is working directly in front of your home or building where your driveway will not be accessible. Please be patient and plan ahead, and do not be afraid to talk to the contractor should they be in your way.
Street parking is typically prohibited in the construction area.
The Utility owns and maintains the water service from the water main in the street to the curb stop valve, which is typically located a few feet off of the sidewalk / property line. If your service is lead, galvanized iron, or steel, the Utility will replace this section with new copper tubing and will also install a new curb stop valve. If your service is already copper or plastic, the Utility will simply reconnect the existing copper tubing to the new water main in the street.
The remaining portion of the service, from the curb stop valve to the meter in the building, is the responsibility of the property owner. The curb stop valve itself is the responsibility of the Utility.
The best way to tell is to look at the tubing where it enters your basement, typically through the wall near the floor or through the floor itself. Do not hesitate to call the Utility at 262-636-9533 for information or assistance regarding your service material type
The Utility encourages you to replace your portion of lead, galvanized iron, or steel service with new copper or plastic tubing at the time of construction. Again, your portion of service runs between the curb stop valve in the sidewalk and the meter inside the building. Replacing this portion is optional and would be at your cost.
The Utility is not responsible for the condition of your service when we connect the new curb stop valve to it. Sometimes, the old lead, galvanized iron, or steel service will leak weeks, months, or even years after the connection is made. Should this happen, the property owner would be responsible to make repairs.
Replacing your section of lead, galvanized iron, or steel service during construction would be both proactive and economical, as the area near the building will already be dug and exposed as the Utility's contractor installs a new curb stop valve. You will have to hire your own plumber to replace your portion of the lead service - the Utility's contractor will not perform any side work for property owners
There are two types of water outages. The first type will occur as the contractor makes connections between existing water mains and new water mains. This outage will last for approximately 4 to 6 hours. The Utility will notify you 1 to 2 days prior to these shutdowns via door-to-door flyers.
The second type will occur as each home's water service tubing is reconnected to the new water main. This will happen to homes and building where the new water main crosses directly in front of the property. Expect to be out of water for between 60 and 90 minutes as this work is done. The contractor will knock on your door to notify you before they make the water service connection.
It would be a good idea to store some water and put it aside for drinking or for flushing of toilets. You should also make sure to not have your dish washer or clothes washer running as the water is to be shut off. Aside from that, you will not need to do anything to your property in anticipation of the water shutdown. After your water is turned back on, you may notice some discolored water or air in the line. This can be remedied by running your water for a good 10 or 15 minutes immediately after the water is turned back on. The best places to flush would be through an outside spigot or wash basin. Make sure the water is clean and clear of any discoloration before washing any laundry.
First, unscrew the faucet screens and make sure they are not clogged. Sometimes, sediment from inside the building's piping breaks loose when the water is turned off and on, and may clog these screens. If the screens are not clogged, and if the low water pressure problem is throughout your building, contact the Water Utility at 262-636-9185.
Flush cold water out of several faucets at the same time, letting the water run for 10 or 15 minutes. If the water does not clear up, contact the Water Utility at 262-636-9185
The Contractor will often finish construction at one location, move to a second location and finish that work, and then perform restoration work for both locations at the same time, so it may take several weeks before the contractor finishes up restoring and cleaning up the workplace. If you see something that is unsafe, such as a tripping hazard or deep rut or hole, please contact Jeff Guttenberg of the Racine Water Utility at 262-636-9187, or at
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