Winter Schedule Announced: Water Dept. Increases Emergency Workforce Response

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City-Philadelphia Water Department Logo

For immediate release: December 11, 2018
Contact: John DiGiulio (267) 254-1930

Philadelphia Water Department Announces Winter Schedule

PHILADELPHIA–Starting this week, Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) distribution crews will begin working 6 days a week, 12 hours shifts, from 8:00 am to midnight to stay on top of leak investigations, and any necessary water main repairs during the winter season.

To minimize disruptions to customers related to water main breaks and service leaks during the cold weather months, each year the PWD implements a “Winter Schedule.” The initiation of this schedule involves analyzing data as the temperatures drop each year so that PWD can match the demands of increased service requests. The Department looks at the number of water main breaks, the river temperatures, and several other factors to be prepared for the challenging season ahead. Each winter, PWD typically sees a significant increase in water main breaks and increases their distribution crew coverage to longer shifts while this volume of work is increased.

The Water Department is responsible for maintaining the water mains and sewers in the City of Philadelphia, and PWD crews make the necessary repairs when those assets break or fail. However, water service and supply lines and waste or stormwater laterals connecting to customers’ houses in Philadelphia are the homeowner’s responsibility, see for more information. Each year, PWD crews are called out to households with frozen pipes, leaking services, and pipes that have ruptured inside the home, which are the responsibility of the homeowner.

If customers see a leak in the street, they should contact PWD at (215) 685-6300 to report it. If a customer does not have water at their home and there is no visible sign of water on the street, PWD recommends they check with neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same problem, as this could be a sign of frozen pipes for that specific home and not a water main break.

The Water Department encourages customers to take the necessary steps to protect their household pipes from freezing or breaking during the winter. Customers should refer to the following tips for help unfreezing pipes should it occur:

Last winter, PWD faced one of its most difficult winter seasons in recent history, with over 675 water main breaks from the end of December 2017 to the middle of March 2018. That volume of breaks led to a backlog of work that was challenging for our crews and customers.

PWD would like to thank customers in advance for their patience and understanding as PWD prepares to enter this challenging time of year. Dedicated Water Department staff will be working to ensure the least amount of disruption to our customers as possible.

Customers are also encouraged to find this information and many other helpful tips regarding PWD in our new customer guide, which can be found at
Customers are also encouraged to follow PWD on social media for updates on Facebook at or on Twitter at
For more information, please visit