Broken Water Line Emergency Lexington Ave. NYC

A Grocery store in in the Grammercy/Flatiron District of Manhattan recently experienced a water main emergency after noticing large amounts of water coming into the building from the foundation wall.  At first the owner was not aware of what the issue was, he decided to call DEP to resolve the issue.  To his surprise, DEP did show up within 2 hours of his phone call and quickly issued the store owner a 3 Day notice stating he has 72 hours to repair the leak.  The water was now starting to come up in the roadway forcing the owner to act quickly.

listen_for_noise_labeled_22Harris Water Main & Sewer Contractors arrived on the scene to assess the problem and validate the DEP 3 Day notice.  The store owner was still in a state of shock as he had never experienced a water line break and was under the impression that this was the responsibility of the city, this is a common assumption made by NYC property owners.  A Harris representative first utilized a special listening device to confirm the pipe was leaking, he quickly heard a loud rumbling noise and vibration on the pipe which confirmed the pipe was leaking.

The Harris Water Main installation crew arrived on the scene to begin excavation in the roadway for what was going to be a challenging job; this area of Manhattan is known for large amounts of utilities and rock located beneath the roadway.

Lexington Ave. is a heavily traveled roadway, this requires the crew to follow special safety regulations and assist traffic to flow in a safe manor.

Water Main Excavation Lexington Ave

Water Main Excavation Lexington Ave

Flagman directing traffic

Flagman directing traffic

After 8 hours of work the water main installation crew had the new 1 ½” copper pipe installed from the connection in the middle of the roadway to inside the building, where a new ball valve was installed.  The new pipe had to be connected to the tap connection on a temporary basis; the existing tap connection was only 5/8” which was way too small to feed the building with sufficient amounts of volume and water pressure.  Being that this was an emergency situation, the DEP field crew was able to schedule an emergency 1” tap installation the same day.  The Harris crew had to prepare the city main for the new tap installation and connect the new copper water line upon the DEP’s completion.

New Tap Installation

New Tap Installation

New Copper & Tap Connection

New Copper & Tap Connection

Harris Water Main and Sewer Contractors was able to install a new 1 ½” copper water main, facilitate the installation of a new 1” tap by the NYC DEP and restore the roadway for safe driving conditions all within 24 hours.  This particular job was in jeopardy of being issued a 10 day notice due to the amounts of water coming up in the roadway and the potential for unsafe conditions.  Working with 95 years of experience in the water main and sewer industry, Harris is equipped and experienced to handle any type of job, under all conditions.

It was also important the right size water main valve was installed in this case, connecting a pipe to an undersized tap connection may not only have a negative impact on the water pressure, but can also serve as a violation to DEP plumbing code.  Read more on tap connections here.


The Harris family has been in the plumbing industry for over 90 years, we are still family owned and operated serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx on a daily basis.  You can conact our office @ 718-495-3600 for a free estimate or if you have any general questions regarding your water line or sewer.