This is a common questions we receive after a property owner receives a DEP 3 day notice violation for a leak under the roadway or sidewalk. Most people assume once the leak is outside of their property line, the city will cover all of the cost or have a city contractor make the repair.
The primary point of confusion is due to Long Island and Westchester operating differently than NYC. In these two areas the town or village will assume responsibility for a broken water main outside of the property line.
When will the cost be covered?
If there is a utility contractor working in the roadway and they happen to break your water main they will either assume the cost for the repair or hire a sub-contractor to make the repair themselves. In these cases the repair happens rather quickly and the property owner may not even be aware that the pipe was broken.
When will NYC cover the cost of your water main repair?
When the city is installing new city water mains they must disconnect the property owner’s water mains and install new water main connections as well as a section of new piping. In a case like this the property owner is not responsible for paying for the re-connect however, if it is determined that the pipe has been leaking once the roadway is open, the property owner is required to hire their own water main contractor to install a new copper pipe.
Leaks from electrolysis
This has become a serious problem throughout different parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx and at this point nobody has taken any responsibility for it. The primary issue is that the water main leaks are being struck by an underground electric leak (AKA electrolysis) and nobody has assumed responsibility for this issue. In many cases the homeowner must pay for a water main repair several times until they are made aware of what is causing the issue and what the permanent resolution is.
There are several additional facts to consider when discussing each of the items mentioned above. It is important to contact a professional if you have encountered any of these issues for feedback on how to handle each of these items.