As time passes we continue to see more and more drilling companies working throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Unfortunately there is no way to determine exactly who sub surface water line and sewer pipes are running below ground, as a result it is often that a drilling company may break a water line or crack a sewer pipe.
Just one week later we started to get calls from two of the neighboring houses who were experiencing a water main leak. This typically would not have been of any concern however, it does raise a flag that three homes within a one block radius would be suffering from a water main leak.
The work still had to be performed on an emergency basis the very next morning to avoid the possibility of additional damage. First we obtained our emergency street opening permit with DOT, at this time we began digging in the roadway to locate/close the city tap connection to stop the leak.
A local customer received a violation from the DEP earlier this week due to his water line valve leaking on the sidewalk. He noticed the water spraying out of the sidewalk over the weekend and contacted 311 as he was not sure what was going on and who would be responsible to resolve this issue.
We explained to Mr. Young that electrolysis is actually a common occurrence in his area over the previous two years. There is an underground DC current leak (electrolysis) within a 3 mile radius of his building which has led us to replacing over fifteen water mains in his area over the previous two years. The only way to resolve this issue is to have the new copper water main installed inside of a plastic sleeve which will protect the pipe from leaking in the future.
The truth of the matter is that we are required to have a NYC Parks Department Certified Arborist on many of our job sites when repairing or replacing a water main or sewer. In some cases we are aware from inception, due the layout of the sewer repair in accordance to a city tree, we will be required to have an Arborist on site.
The biggest issue was that NYC was expecting a massive snow storm and the homeowner would be left without water or heat. Luckily Harris Water was able to schedule work on an emergency basis for early the next morning and notified DEP that we were doing so.
Harris arrived on site to investigate and was able to divert the leaking water into the sewer trap as a temporary solution, we were confident that this would last overnight and had to schedule next day service to replace the existing lead water main with copper.
Most homeowners want to know “what else can I do to ensure that my water is safe for drinking?”. Where we cannot guarantee exactly what the city is doing on a larger scale, it is always suggested to start with the smallest of potential issues and work upwards with problems that may fall under your control.
More than 50% of homes throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan & the Bronx have a tree growing within 25’ of their property. Most people assume they are in the clear if the tree is not directly in front of their house or if the tree is not growing directly on top of their sewer line. Unfortunately this is not the case, most property owners become aware of these facts after the sewer line has failed, resulting in a terrible sewer backup.