Electrolysis Cause of Water Main Leak

June 11, 2020

Residents in New York City have been dealing with their water mains leaking as a result of electrolysis for many years. In the recent years the issues appear to be worsening as more water mains are leaking due to electrolysis.

Recently on Wilson Ave. in Brooklyn homeowners have been experiencing leaks from electrolysis out of nowhere. The homeowners have been in their house for decades, nothing has changed on their side other than what is now a leaking water main. It is similar scenarios that continue to occur with different streets in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan & the Bronx and it is now important to determine why! Why should the homeowners be responsible for this cost?

What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is a stray DC current leak that is attracted to copper water mains and will cause the water main to corrode and leak. The current is most commonly distributed randomly underground and is known to eat away at copper pipes quickly.  The current is causing small pin hole leaks with a green staining on copper pipes.

Water main leaks caused by electrolysis in Brooklyn

What is causing the electrolysis leaks?

For many years it was suspected that the leaks were caused by below ground electric lines that were installed by ConEd. Over recent years Verizon and their new fiber optic cables have been part of the discussion and possibly a reason for the recent spike in electrolysis water mains leaks.

What is the resolution?

Harris Water Main & Sewer continues to work with homeowners and counsel men throughout different areas of the city to determine exactly what is causing the problem as well as a permanent solution. In the interim we have been practicing a procedure including the installation of new copper pipes inside of a plastic tubing which serves as a protective sleeve against electrolysis. Up to this point the process has been 100% successful and we have never experienced a secondary leak from electrolysis once the entire water main is installed inside of a plastic sleeve.

Installing copper pipe inside of platic tubing to avoid a water leak from electrolysis

There are several additional details included in the installation process including the protection of the pipe at the point it connects to the city main which should be discussed in the event you are suffering from an electrolysis leak.

Channel 7 ABC new interview

Recently Harris Water was interviewed by channel 7 as the most experienced water main installation contractor who has been dealing with electrolysis. The interview included all of the details we have discussed in addition to several other items most homeowners need to understand.

If you are suffering from a water main leak due to electrolysis it is important to discuss all details and variables with a licensed plumber.

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