New Homeowners Replace Old Lead With New Copper Water Main

April 6, 2013
Water line install

A pair of newlyweds recently purchased their first house in Brooklyn, after receiving their inspection report they were made aware that the existing water line was made of lead.  This became of immediate concern due to the lead levels in their water in addition to the couple expecting a newborn within the coming months.  After doing their due diligence, they had decided that replacing the existing lead water main with a new copper water main was not up for discussion, the job had to be completed before their child was born. The water main replacement was scheduled to start the following week as the new homeowner’s were still unpacking and getting settled in the new home.

The copper water Line installation started at 8:30 AM with the crew excavating the “tap hole” in the roadway, the water had to be shut off before the new pipe could be installed.  The other members of the installation crew began excavating additional holes in the roadway and on the property.  This particular job required special safety precautions including a flagman to assist traffic in flowing as usual.

Copper connected to tap
Copper connected to tap

Shortly after all of the holes were excavated the crew began blowing tunnels with compressed air in preparation for the installation of the new copper pipe.  After 4 hours of work, the crew now had all of the holes excavated, the tunnels prepared and the installation phase had begun.  A heavy duty chain was connected to the copper pipe as the crew members were now ready to pull the copper from hole to hole starting with the tap hole.  The crew had the new pipe installed into the house by 3pm, the foreman was now hooking up the pipe to the tap and inside the house to the existing water meter while the other crew members were backfilling the holes  before cleaning up the jobsite.

The new copper water main installation was completed before 4pm; the concrete on the property was restored the following day along with the excavations made in the roadway.  The new homeowners now had a new copper water line and no longer feared traces of lead in their drinking water.

Information on lead in drinking water

Courtesy of the US Environmental Protection Agency

Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is commonly used in household plumbing materials and water service lines. The greatest exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips and dust.

But lead in drinking water can also cause a variety of adverse health effects. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder.

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Making sure the dirt being removed is at least a foot away from the hole is important. 
No debris should fall back into the tunnels as the team is working 

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