Lets start by saying that the DEP has a 99% accuracy rate when issuing a DEP 3 day notice. With that said, the city supervisors are human and it is impossible for anyone to perfectly detect the location of a leaking water main. If your 3 day notice has been issued in error the plumber should follow standard protocol with the city.
Lets say you were issued the violation notice and have hired your licensed plumber to begin the installation work. Your plumber will always start by excavating one hole over the city water main to close the water connection. The water is closed from a valve on the city main which is called a tap connection. Now that the tap valve has been closed, the water leak should stop. In some cases it may take a little while before the leak stops if it was traveling below ground for a few days.
Now that water has stopped the plumber can continue with the excavation and should have your new water main installed in no time!
If the tap connection is closed and the leak persists, there may be a secondary issue. Or even better, the 3 day notice may be issued in error.
Resolving the 3 day in error
The licensed plumber will now contact the DEP office and notify them that the roadway excavation is open, and we need a field supervisor to inspect. The supervisor will confirm that violation notice does not belong to your house. The notice is now lifted and DEP will begin investigating the actual source of the leak.
The plumber is still responsible for all the permits, back filling the roadway and paving the street. The property owner is now responsible for paying the plumber for the total cost incurred while determining the notice was issued in error. The homeowner will begin the reimbursement process with the city comptrollers office.
It is our experience that the property owner is always reimbursed the total cost paid to the plumber, as long as the submit the request form immediately after the final bill has been paid. Shortly after the comptrollers office will confirm that the owner has paid the plumber. They will also request information on the work that was completed.
It tends to be surprising to all but the process really is simple. Your plumber can certainly assist with all of the required info before submitting the city for reimbursement.