What is a DEP Three Day Notice | Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx & Manhattan Homeowners?

November 4, 2012

3_day_noticeA NYC DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) Three Day Notice is a notice given to a homeowner informing them that their main water line is leaking and it must be fixed within 3 days.  Under certain circumstances, there may be some leeway on the required 3 days pending the severity of the leak.   If it is a minor leak that is not affecting any of the surrounding neighbors or utilities, the DEP may extend the required timeframe of 3 days at their discretion.  If the leak is creating a potentially dangerous situation, the DEP may take a more severe action, shorten the required time frame to fix the leak and possibly turn off the water service prior to the 3 day period.

How does DEP locate and determine the source of the leak?

The DEP may first become aware of the leak upon identifying a wet spot in the roadway, a stream of water coming through the roadway, if a homeowner has lost water pressure or has water coming in through the foundation wall.  At this point a special listening device is used in determining the source of the leak, the NYC DEP may have to enter the surrounding neighbor’s houses to conclude upon the leak investigation.  The listening device is used to determine the flow of water which results in a distinctive noise pattern.  A water main line for a house will not have any noise coming off of the line unless the water is running.  If the noise test is performed while the house water is off and the listening device is able to pick-up a vibration or a rumbling, this is a strong indicator that there may be a break in the water line from the house to the roadway.

There are situations where the NYC DEP may have to perform further investigation which requires excavation of the roadway to determine where the leak is coming from.   If this is required, there may be a $1000 charge to the homeowner for the work completed in locating the leak which is a separate charge from any of the repair work that may be needed on the water main line.

See here for the details of a jobsite report where the DEP did issue a 3 day notice in error.


What to do if you get a 3 day notice in error?

If you have hired a water main contractor to satisfy a DEP issued 3 day notice and the contractor determines that the leak is not on your water line, the following steps are to be followed:

1. The contractor should request that a NYC DEP representative makes an onsite visit to confirm that the water leak is not from your water main. 2. File a claim form with the Comptrollers Office. 3. Compensate the contractor for the work completed.  This usually consists of the total amount of the original agreement minus the cost of material.

***Important information***

The NYC DEP is accurate when issuing most of their 3 day notices; it is a rare occurrence when a 3 day notice is issued in error as the DEP field crews are extremely knowledgeable and experienced.   If you have any questions or concerns regarding a 3 day notice you should call a NYC water main contractor to provide a free estimate.

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