Broken Water Main While Planting New Tree

September 4, 2020
Lead pipe leaks below ground
Lead pipe leaks below ground

Recently in Brooklyn a company was planting trees as part of a new city project when they ruptured a lead water main that was feeding the house where the contractor was working. At first the contractor planting the tree attempted to patch the lead pipe and move on.

Little did he know that the property owner was actually a plumber and understood that repairing a lead pipe was completely illegal under the NYC DEP plumbing code. If any form of a repair is required on a lead pipe the entire pipe must be replaced with brand new copper.

In this case the homeowner had to hire Harris to replace the lead water main from the street to inside the house. The tree contractor was denying any of the responsibility due to the fact that he had repaired the problem in his eyes.

Upon our site investigation we became aware that the lead pipe was still leaking after the repair and now had to be replaced on an emergency basis.

First we had to obtain an emergency DOT permit in preparation for work to begin. The existing ¾” lead was required to be upgraded to a new 1” copper water main which was replaced in a single day.

Unfortunately for the property owner the tree contractor was still denying responsibility and he had to get his attorney involved. The entire process was documented in the form of pictures, a detailed written report as well as salvaging the damaged pipe for evidence.

After a few weeks of back and forth the contractor understood he really had no choice and ended up reimbursing the property owner for the funds that they paid to have the water line installed.

If you are experiencing a similar issue where a third party contractor broke your water main it is important to contact a licensed professional and make sure all is documented properly just in case of a similar legal issue.

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