Domestic Water Line Emergency | East Flatbush Brooklyn

February 18, 2013

It is very common that a homeowner will view a small drip on a water main as a non-threatening problem that can be resolved with some silicone adhesive or duct tape.  They may plan on letting the problem sit for weeks or even months before getting around to finding a permanent solution.

A local building owner in East Flatbush Brooklyn had handled a leak on his 3” domestic water line the same exact way.  All of his tenants had water, there was no loss of water pressure and “it was such a small leak”.  ductile_iron_water_main_installationTwo days after applying his temporary fix, his small leak became a large water main break, flooding the basement of his 52 unit building and almost completely ruining his boilers.

Harris Water Main & Sewer Contractors was called on-site to evaluate the situation and provide a quote for the repair.  Luckily the building owner’s sewer trap was located in the ground where most of the water was flooding; the Harris estimator simply removed the sewer caps allowing all of the flooding water to exit his basement through the sewer line.  The building owner no longer had a potentially dangerous situation which may have called for a complete evacuation however, he still had to have the water main replaced immediately.

Harris Water Main & Sewer Contractors was called back several hours later after the homeowner had received several other quotes and feedback; he hired Harris Water to start the job immediately.  The existing 3” domestic water main was made of galvanized piping leaving no choice but to replace the entire water main from the building to the street as per DEP plumbing code.

First thing the next morning, the Harris Water Main field crew began excavating the roadway for the water main replacement and the installation of a new 3” ductile iron water main.  The water main installation was time sensitive as the building owner did not want his tenants to be without water two days in a row.  Assuming the field crew did not encounter any unexpected hurdles below ground level, it was possible that the water main was replaced all within one day.  The filed crew had to work quick and more important, efficiently to satisfy the owner.


The wet connection hole in the street was excavated when the crew identified the existing wet connection as being lead jointed.  The foreman now had to use a burn-out torch to melt the existing lead out of the wet connection valve before remove the old piping.

The property now had to be completely trenched for the new water line installation.  Most of the trenching was located in a grass area which allowed for a quicker excavation process than if they were working in a concrete area, the team was on pace to complete the installation within the requested time frame.

The new 3” ductile iron pipe was installed from the new OSY valve on the inside of the building, to the new curb valve on the sidewalk.  It was now time to install the piping at the wet connection using hot lead to seal the joints and the existing wet connection.  A corporation clamp from the new pipe to the existing wet connection was installed to secure the connection.  The piping was inspected by DEP and the field crew could now backfill the hole as the job had been successfully completed.

A brief history of East Flatbush Brooklyn

Courtesy of Wikipedia

East Flatbush is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The area is part of Brooklyn Community Board 17. As with many Neighborhoods in New York City the borders of East Flatbush are subjective, but its northern border is roughly at Empire Boulevard and East New York Avenue east of East 91st Street, its southern border is in the vicinity of the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch, its eastern border is roughly at East 98th Street and its western border is roughly at New York Avenue.

The area was populated post World War II predominantly by immigrant Jews and Italians, then in the 1960s by African Americans, but most recently has seen many West Indian immigrants such as Haitians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, St.Lucians, Grenadians, Panamanians, Bajans, Dominican, and Guyanese groups coming to the area. Within its confines is the Holy Cross Cemetery, Brooklyn, which is located at 3620 Tilden Avenue. While some residents are affluent, East Flatbush is mostly populated by working-class Brooklynites. Similar to other eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods, blacks predominate East Flatbush. The area has a population of 84,498 and is 91.4% Black or African-American. East Flatbush is the home of the former General George W. Wingate High School and Gov. Samuel J. Tilden High School. It is also home to three major hospitals, Kings County Hospital, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

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Anybody lose a measure tape underground? I think we found it while laying down new sewer pipe! 😂

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On our way to the cookout, if the cookout was under ground and it looked like a leaking water main 😉😅

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