Recently, one of our long time customers hired us to perform a rather routine job on a property he had just purchased. Whenever a new property owner purchases a house there are usually a long list of repairs that have to be made to the house before being able to move in. If the home owner is particularly lucky he may only need to turn on the water main pipe at the water main tap out in the roadway.
Why Was Water Shut-off in the First Place?
If a house is left vacant for a long period of time sometimes the bank will hire a water main contractor to turn off the water at the tap on the city main. This is done for usually two reasons. The first is in the event of a cold snap the pipe may burst. The second is that vandals sometimes break into vacant houses and steal the meter and other copper pipes to sell for scrap metal. Both scenarios will result in significant flooding that may spread to adjacent houses if no one is around to notice.
Routine Job Goes Wrong
What we refer to as “water turn on” jobs at Harris Water Main jobs the most routine and most straight forward procedures that we perform. Provided that there is no pre-existing break in the water service, we have to excavate in the roadway, locate the water main tap and turn the water back. Needless to say, this is not how this job unfolded.
WHAT WE FOUND…
The moment our workers broke through the asphalt and start digging they knew that something was wrong. The area was saturated and all the dirt was now mud. After pumping out the water in the tap hole we discovered that the previous contractor who was hired to turn off the water had permanently damaged the tap causing it to leak underground for weeks, if not months. They simply back filled the street and left the problem for the next contractor to fix.
Luckily, we were able to schedule the DEP to be on site for an emergency new tap installation a few days later and had the problem resolved very quickly. However, this is a clear example of what can go wrong if you try to cut corners and hire a non-licensed or non-experienced contractor. It is extremely important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable water main and sewer contractor to perform any type of work, even the most routine jobs because as we always say, you never know what you’ll find when you start digging under the streets of New York.