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Pipe Replacement

Proactive pipe work keeps the water flowing

Denver Water replaces water mains for various reasons, including repairing or avoiding main breaks, replacing corroded pipe, alleviating water quality problems, increasing available hydrant flow and improving area delivery.

Check out our map of current projects and status information


Pipe programs

$130 million

estimated cost for 2017 to 2027


feet of pipe installed per year


miles of mains in the distribution system


installation period for older existing pipe

Why it's important

The water distribution system contains more than 3,000 miles of water mains, and Denver Water crews install or replace an average of 60,000 feet of pipe a year.

Replacements are done for various reasons, including repairing or avoiding main breaks, replacing corroded pipe, alleviating water quality problems, increasing available hydrant flow and improving area delivery. All of these are important to maintaining the system that delivers your water.

Cutting down on problematic pipes in Centennial
Denver Water crews are in the second year of replacing about 60,000 feet of pipe through a targeted 12-mile zone in west Centennial where 18 water main breaks occurred over a two-year span — more than three times the number of breaks as the rest of Denver Water’s service area. Read “Looking for ‘hot spots’ — in all the right places” to learn more about Denver Water’s approach to replacing water mains.

How it impacts our customers

When Denver Water is working in your neighborhood, you will receive notification with project details and contact information. Every improvement and replacement project is different because of the conditions at the project site, but there are similar activities you can expect to see during each phase.

Phases and timeline

Before work begins

Denver Water will:

  • Take photos or video of the street, sidewalk and the front of your property so we can restore them to pre-construction condition.
  • Survey and use temporary blue paint or stakes to mark the alignment of water services.
  • Contact other utility companies so they can mark the locations of their buried facilities.
  • Mobilize equipment and materials along the street.
  • Place no-parking signs and stormwater management devices.
    • Street parking will not be available during working hours for the duration of the project on your street.

You should receive:

  • Initial notification mailed to you before project starts.
  • Door hanger placed on your door a few days before project begins.

During construction

Denver Water crews will work in phases to:

  • Cut and/or mill the street.
  • Use heavy equipment to dig a trench and install the new water main.
  • Disinfect and pressure-test the new main.
    • You may notice a reddish discoloration in your water caused by non-hazardous sediment that has entered the main. If this happens, run cold water for a few minutes from the outside hose faucet or the lowest point in your home, and clean faucet aerators.
  • Connect service lines, fire hydrants and fire lines to the new main. We will provide advance notice for the water outages necessary to complete these connections.
    • Crews will typically flush the outside spigot of your property following a service line connection.
  • Keep dust to a minimum and clean the streets periodically.
  • Note: Please keep in mind these water main replacement projects typically last one to two months. Projects could last longer for a variety of reasons.


Dirt or debris can enter water lines for any number of reasons when field crews have to shut down water service to customers while performing ordinary water system operations, including replacing or repairing water mains, lines, hydrants and valves.

Since dirt or debris can sometimes damage water-using appliances, to prevent damage, you may want to disconnect or turn off ice makers, washing machines, dishwashers, sprinkler systems, and filtration systems before Denver Water shuts off water service.

Denver Water is not responsible or liable for damage to your property resulting from pressure changes or stoppage of the flow of water to your home.

When crews find lead service lines

Because we care about public health, Denver Water will replace lead service lines found during this project with copper. When we identify a lead service line, we will notify the resident and provide contact information so the property owner can schedule the replacement. If you are scheduling a replacement, please remember someone must be home during the replacement to provide access to the inside water connection.

Because lead service line replacements can temporarily elevate lead levels in water, we will provide post-replacement instructions, a water pitcher filter and filter cartridges to protect residents’ health.

An important note: If your neighborhood has lead service lines, the water main replacement project will take much longer, because of the added time required to complete each individual lead service line replacement. This one-time effort will bring a lasting public health benefit to your neighborhood.


Contractors and Denver Water employees will:

  • Install a permanent asphalt patch within a month after project completion, weather permitting.
  • Remove signs and stormwater management devices once final landscaping and street paving are complete.
  • Provide a one-time restoration of landscape to its pre-construction condition when weather conditions are most suitable (typically in the spring or fall), at no cost to you. Customers are responsible for watering and caring for these plantings. If weather conditions are not suitable for sod replacement, we will place straw down for erosion control until conditions improve.
  • Note: After the water main replacement project is complete for your property, we recommend you run one of your cold water taps for one to two minutes to displace the standing water in your service line before consuming the water.

    How to flush your faucets after construction:

    Lead flushing instructions (PDF)

You should receive:

What you might see during the work

Tip: Click pictures to see captions.