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Water Service Line Ownership, Responsibility and Repair


As a part of the overall water distribution system, water mains and service lines deliver drinking water from the Water Treatment Facility to residents and businesses.

Water mains—typically installed below the streets—are the pipes that transport water from the treatment plant throughout the community. A water service line is the underground pipe that connects the main line in the street to your home or business.

Over time, environmental conditions and aging can break down sections of pipe, causing deterioration and cracks that can lead to leaks.

Water Damage Can Cost You

Many residents are unaware that it’s the property owner’s responsibility to repair the water service line on their property, as well as any resulting damages. If this line fails, repair or replacement can be expensive and most basic homeowners insurance policies don’t cover these expenses.

If your water service line breaks, it can cause:

  • visible leaks in your yard
  • wet or sunken areas of landscape or driveway
  • high bills
  • leaks in your basement or crawlspace
  • low water pressure

Common causes of breaks:

  • aging of pipes
  • corrosion
  • expansion and contraction due to temperature changes
  • freezing due to extreme cold
  • tree roots
  • ground settling
  • rocky soil pushing or settling on a pipe
  • high water pressure

Property owners are responsible for all related repairs and expenses to their:

  • water service line from the curb stop to the service address (see graphic)
  • associated property damage
  • plumbing/piping inside the building

NOTE: The curb stop – located between the water main and water service line – is the valve that turns off the water to each property and can only be operated by Utilities staff.

Fort Collins Utilities is responsible for maintaining and repairing the:

  • water main to the curb stop (see graphic)
  • curb stop
  • water meter
  • associated damage to the street and/or property

View City Code on this topic.

Low-Interest Financing

Fort Collins Utilities offers low-interest financing options to help homeowners make repairs to external water service lines. Read more about other resources to repair leaks. 


If this line fails, repair or replacement can be expensive and most basic homeowners insurance policies don’t cover these expenses. You may want to check the details of your policy and look into supplemental insurance plans for exterior water service line coverage.