Water Service Lines

Water is provided to customers through private water service lines that are connected to MP&W's water distribution mains.  Water service lines are put in place at the time of building construction.  Water service lines are privately-owned, and MP&W allows connections (water main taps) to our water distribution mains to provide water to homes and businesses, as shown below.

Infographic with house explaining water main, curb stop and water main with customer responsibilities

Our Water Service Rules detail rules and responsibilities for water main taps and water service lines; however, some common questions from customers are listed below.

Does it matter if my service line is copper, lead, or galvanized piping?
Many older homes were built with galvanized or lead pipe service lines.  Modern building standards now specify copper pipe.  Typically, if they are intact and in good working order, galvanized and lead service lines are safe, but if they become damaged, they must be completely replaced from the water main to the house.  Copper service lines can be repaired.

Because water service lines are privately-owned, MP&W does not maintain records of service line pipe materials.  Contact a licensed plumber to help you identify your service line material.  If you have concerns about your water quality due to that material, please contact our Water Department at 563-263-2631 for a complimentary test.

What are some common occurrences that may cause a water service line to leak or break?
When the ground is subject to extreme weather conditions, such as freezing and thaw cycles or drought and extreme heat, it can cause the ground to heave, putting stress on some service lines and can damage them.  This is one of the most common issues we see.

What should I do if I see water in my yard/on my property?
If you see bubbling water or have standing water, call us at 563-263-2631.  MP&W will help determine the cause and the appropriate course of action.  If needed, a representative will meet you to help diagnose the problem.

What if the water leak is not my service line?
If the leak is on the MP&W-owned water main and not your service line, MP&W will make all necessary repairs and restore the site to the original conditions. 

If the leak is from the water service line, the customer is responsible for those repairs.

  • Contaminants from a leaking water service line could pose a threat to the surrounding water supply.  Additional water damage issues may include erosion around homes and in yards, or even undermine roadways.  MP&W staff will work with you to ensure the work is completed in a timely manner.

How much could it cost to repair or replace a water service line in the event of a leak or failure?
Depending on service line length and site restoration requirements, repairs can run in the thousands of dollars.  For example, if your service line replacement includes any area under a city street, the total cost could potentially be in excess of $5,000 due to concrete excavation and repair to city specifications.

Is there an easy way to tell where MP&W's distribution main is in relation to my water service line?
If MP&W fire hydrants are located across the street, it's likely the water main is there, too.  If you have questions about your specific property, call us and we'll help you locate the main.

What is the curb stop valve and is it my responsibility?
Curb stop valves allow MP&W staff and other autorized contractors to turn water on or off to the home/building.  While they are generally found in the public right of way, the curb stop valve is customer-owned.  Curb stops must be operable and accessible to MP&W staff to turn water on and off when necessary.  Any repairs should be done by a licensed plumber.

If the thought of a broken service line or funding the repair of a broken service concerns you, please read more about financial options to give you more peace of mind.

Financial Assistance Options

Interested in learning what options are available to help in the event of a water service line repair?

Learn More