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Service Lines

Layout 1_Page 1Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) provides water to its customers and maintains the water mains required to deliver water to homes and businesses.  The water meter is owned by DMWW. It is usually located in the basement or outside the property in a meter pit.

Property owners are responsible for the connection (tap) to the water main and the piping (service line) that carries water from the main to the meter.  The property owner is also responsible for protecting and providing access to the water meter.

When a problem occurs, DMWW staff will assist the property owner in determining the cause of the problem and the appropriate course of action.

In certain situations, customers may apply to stub and reuse their water service line. 

Stop Box
Diagram-1The stop box houses the valve used to turn the water service on and off to a property.  It is usually located in the public right of way.  Two types of stop boxes can be found in the DMWW service area, the Minneapolis and the Arch pattern.  A drawing of the two styles can be found on the reverse side of this brochure.  DMWW requires that the stop box be operable at all times.

Who owns the stop box?
The property owner owns the stop box and is responsible for its repair.

How does the stop box operate?
To operate the stop box, a long key is placed inside the housing and lowered onto the valve to turn the water service on or off.  Sometimes, due to age or damage, the stop box does not operate, requiring repair.

Why is the stop box operated?
DMWW will operate the stop box:

  • to terminate service at the owner’s request when a property is sold
  • to cut water service for internal plumbing repairs
  • at a rental property to discontinue water service when the tenant is moving
  • when a customer fails to make timely payment on their water bill
  • There are instances when the stop box will need to be repaired.

The stop box may need to be repaired when:

  • The stop box is too high or too low as the top of the stop box should be level with the ground
  • The stop box is located under concrete or asphalt and is not accessible
  • The valve does not operate
  • The housing becomes bent and the key cannot be lowered onto the valve
  • The rod is loose and does not connect to the valve

Who will make the repairs?
DMWW is not licensed to make plumbing repairs and we recommend that you contract the services of a licensed plumber.  If you do not make repair arrangements, DMWW will contract the services of a plumber and bill the charges to your account.

How much will it cost for repairs?
The cost will depend on the work required to make the repair.

Other Questions

What if my service line starts to leak?
Please notify DMWW if you notice water leaking and our representative will assist in determining the location of the leak.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine the source of the leaking water as it follows the path of least resistance and does not always come to the surface right near the leak.  Once located, the property owner will be notified to contact a licensed plumber to make repairs to the leaking service line.

What if my service line starts to leak and water is not coming to the surface of the ground?
During our routine leak survey of the distribution system, using electronic leak detection equipment, leaks are sometimes located that don’t come to the surface.  Our leak detection personnel will attempt to determine the source of leaking water and inform you of its general location.

Who is responsible for the water meter?
The water meter is usually located in the basement or in a meter pit outside the building.  The property owner is responsible for protecting the meter from freezing temperatures and providing access to the meter and meter reading equipment.  The water meter is owned by DMWW.

If you need additional assistance, please call (515) 283-8771.

Water Service Line Coverage through HomeServe
Des Moines Water Works offers a low-cost water service line coverage program available through HomeServe USA (HomeServe). This optional coverage offers protection for water service line breaks for single-family residents in the City of Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works’ total service areas.

Many customers don’t realize the entire exterior water service line that connects your home with Des Moines Water Works’ water main is your responsibility as a homeowner. If you were unfortunate enough to suffer a break in this line, or discover an inoperable shutoff valve, it would be up to you to find a plumber and face potentially costly repairs.

To provide homeowners with an option, Des Moines Water Works has selected HomeServe to provide homeowners with a plan that protects them from costs associated with repairs to their water service line. After a thorough evaluation process, the coverage provided by HomeServe was determined to be the most comprehensive coverage and tailored for Des Moines Water Works’ customers.

Des Moines Water Works has secured this optional policy coverage at an affordable price of $5.99 per month, which will be conveniently billed on Des Moines Water Works’ monthly statement. For more information on the program or to register for coverage, call TOLL-FREE 1-855-695-1493 or go online to

View a HomeServe testimonial from a Des Moines Water Works customer.

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