Frequently Asked Questions

What is a water service pipe? Who owns it and maintains it?

The water and sewer service lines are the responsibility of the owner from the water/sewer main connection to your building.

The water service is the pipe which begins with the connection to the water main in the city right-of-way and comes into your property. This service line has two valves on it to allow your water to be turned on or off. The first valve, called a curb stop, is generally located near the property line and is normally housed by a cylinder with a cap on it called a curb box or stop box. The other valve is located in your home next to the water meter. Other valves may be near plumbing fixtures in your home such as sinks and toilets. Repairs to anything on the service other than the meter, is the responsibility of the property owner.

Keeping the valve at the meter in good working condition will assure that you will be able to turn your water off in an emergency, such as a water pipe break. If this valve at the meter does not work in an emergency, call 402-441-7571 so that Lincoln Water System can shut your water off at the stop box, which requires a stop box key. Lincoln Water System and most licensed plumbers have these keys.

What should I do if my water bill seems too high?

Contact the Water Billing office at 402-441-7551 to determine if there has been an error in your billing. If this is not the case, the billing office will refer you to the water service center 402-441-7571. The Water Service Center can schedule an appointment with you to have a service worker verify the accuracy of the meter. Most high water bills are caused by service line leaks, faucet or toilet leaks, or outside use greater than previous years due to hotter or dryer weather.

Should I be worried about lead in my water?

If your home was constructed prior to 1987 and it contains lead soldered copper plumbing or lead pipes, you should allow the tap to run for a minute or so before drinking. If lead is present, the highest concentrations will be in the first draw of water that has been in the plumbing for an extended period of time.

Why is my water off?

  • A water main may be shut down because water personnel are working in the area. Prior notification is given before water is turned off for scheduled work.
  • Service may be terminated because of failure to pay your water bill (contact Water Credit Dept. at 402-441-7533); failure to gain entrance to check, repair, install or replace the water meter; failure to install a backflow preventor; or due to a leak in the water service line. You should call the telephone number listed on your door hanger or correspondence.
  • If you live in an apartment, trailer court, condominium or multiple dwelling residence, contact the property manager to make sure they do not have the water shut off for maintenance purposes.

Contact the Lincoln Water System at 402-441-7571 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, if you have further questions.

Why is my water "rusty" or "muddy"?

Many of the water mains in Lincoln are constructed of cast iron. Generally short periods of rusty water may appear after a main has been shut down for repair or a nearby hydrant has been used. A call to the Lincoln Water System 402-441-5922 will result in a request for you to run your cold water for several (10) minutes to clear the rusty water out of your service. If you are still experiencing rusty water, Lincoln Water System will send personnel to your area to flush the city mains to eliminate the rust from service lines.

Other sources of rust could also be from your own service. If you have any galvanized internal lines, or fittings, you can expect to have periodic episodes of discolored water. Especially after a period of nonuse. The water heater can also be the source of rusty-water problems. If only the hot water is rusty, that indicates that the problem lies in the water heater.

Other Questions

Call the Lincoln Water System Shop at 402-441-7571 with questions in regard to:

Call Diggers Hotline at 1-800-331-5666 or 811 for water mains and services to be located before you dig.

Call Customer Service at 402-441-7551 in regard to questions on water bills or request for changes in billing.

If you would like to have your water tested, as long as there is not a problem with discolored water or health problems, call:

  • State of Nebraska Department of Health Lab at 471-2122
  • MDS Pharma Services at 402-476-2811

(There is a fee involved to have the water tested at these labs.)

For water quality related questions please see the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report.