How to Resolve NYC Fire Department Curb Valve Violation?
March 26, 2020
As time goes on NYC property owners continue to receive violations for not having a curb valve under the sidewalk. The first step is to determine if you have a curb valve or not, just because the city issued you a violation it does not necessarily mean that one does not exist.
A city inspector will issue a violation based on a visual inspection from above ground. If he or she does not see a curb valve sleeve or curb box they automatically assume you do not have a curb valve and issue a violation.
What is the next step?
Your licensed plumber should obtain DEP records which may provide information on your curb valve including size, location and depth. In some cases, the city may not have a record if not reported accurately upon the time of install.
If the records do not provide any insight the next step would be to hire for an exploratory excavation. The licensed plumber should excavate within 2’ of the city curb line as the current DEP plumbing code requires all curb valves to be installed in this location. If the plumber has any reason to believe it may be an older curb valve which is installed on the outside of the foundation wall (old plumbing code) he can begin excavating at this point.
What to do if your plumber finds a curb valve?
The licensed plumber should install a new curb box sleeve directly on top of the existing curb valve, back fill the soil that was removed when digging and complete the final restoration of the concrete once the sleeve is installed. It is important to make sure that the new sleeve is installed directly over the curb valve. If the sleeve is off center, there is a chance that curb key will not fit on top of the valve.
What is the condition of the existing pipe?
It is important for your licensed plumber to investigate the age and material of the existing pipe. If the existing pipe is old and corroded there is a good chance that the curb valve does not work. Your plumber should obtain as much information as possible on the age, condition and material of the existing pipe. At this time the property owner should understand the pros and cons of performing an exploratory excavation for an old pipe that was installed in 1950. When working with an old pipe it makes most sense to save the money for the exploratory excavation and allocate it towards installing a brand new pipe along with the curb valve.
It is common that an exploratory excavation is completed and a curb valve is located to only find out that the curb valve does not work or the pipe ends up leaking several months later. It is important your licensed plumber explains each option and takes the time to give his professional opinion.
Installing a new main
If you opt into installing an entire new main with your curb valve the plumber must first apply for DEP permits before anything. It is important to make sure that your plumber is obtaining an on-site inspection for the new installation so you have documentation as well as a city sign off.