Water main breaks happen all year round for a variety of reasons but are more frequent and visible during the winter months. During a water main break the ground will rise and water will flow out in a continuous, constant stream. Discharges of sump pumps from a residence are often mistaken for a water main break.
Repairs vary in time due to conditions of weather and conflicts with other utilities. The Public Works crew may have to shut off the water main to make repairs generally lasting 4 to 6 hours for the average reconstruction. Crews will typically knock on doors of the affected residences unless it is late at night. When the water is turned back on it may be discolored.
This discoloration is commonly due to mineral sediments in the pipe which can be disturbed during the repairs to the water main. You can flush you pipes at the cold water faucet effectively removing any unsettled sediment in your residence. Unless specifically notified the water remains safe to drink or what is ordinarily called potable.