As a homeowner, you never, ever want to see your water or sewer line face to face. If you are staring directly at one of these large pipes — typically buried several feet below your front lawn — then something has gone terribly wrong.
Your water and sewer lines connect your home to the public water and sewage systems (assuming you don't have your own septic tank). Your city or town's liability for the system ends at the street; homeowners are responsible for the length of pipe underneath their property. The cost of physically repairing or replacing a broken water or sewage line isn't going to break the bank — somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. What's really going to cost you is cleaning up the mess [source: HomeAdvisor].
When a main water line breaks, it creates an underground flood that seeps up to your lawn, creating huge marsh-like puddles. To get to the source of the leak, crews will have to excavate into your lawn and possibly under trees and driveways. After you pay for repairing the water line, you'll pay to replace the section of driveway and re-landscape the lawn, another several thousand dollars literally down the drain.
If you own an old house, it's smart to carry water and sewer line insurance and to have your lines inspected annually for any signs of leaks or cracks. Also, check with the water and sewage utility company before digging deep into your lawn for a landscaping or home improvement project [source: HomeAdvisor]. You'd hate to crack that pipe yourself.