Water Shut Down Information

The Sheboygan Water Utility has more than 200 miles of water main buried beneath the ground. That is enough pipe to reach from Sheboygan to La Crosse! The Utility Crew spends hundreds of hours each year maintaining, replacing, and repairing the buried assets. Occasionally, the Crew needs to shut down a section of water main that feeds individual water laterals to residential homes and businesses. In most situations, the Crew is able to go door to door notifying customers before the shutdown occurs. During some emergency situations, there is little or no time to notify customers of a shutdown.

Here are some things you can do when you have received notification of a water main shutdown.

Before the Shutdown:

  • Fill a couple of buckets with water for cooking, washing, and flushing the toilet. A toilet will flush when approximately a gallon of water is dumped in the bowl.
  • Have a potable water container filled with water for drinking.

During the Shutdown:

  • Try not to operate the water faucets. This will prevent air from entering your plumbing.

After the Shutdown:

  • Water is sometimes discolored after water main breaks. This orange/red color is normal and comes from sedimentation, but needs to be flushed out. Do not use this water for consumption.
    • Turn on cold water from a faucet closest to your water meter until the water clears up.
    • If the water does not clear within 5-10 minutes, wait 30 minutes and try again.
    • Do not use your hot water or a faucet that is connected to your home’s filter system. This may draw debris through the water heater or filter system.
    • A knocking sound is common during flushing. This is caused by air in the water line which needs to be flushed out.
  • If you note reduced water flow in a faucet, check the faucet aerator (screens) for debris and clean accordingly. If this does not restore flow, contact the Utility during normal business hours for further guidance.

Why do water mains break?

There are many reasons. Some of our 200 miles of water main pipe are over 100 years old! Age, change in pressure, and a change in temperature can cause cracks and breaks to occur without warning.