Questions to Ask About Your Water Main

Copper pipe installation in NYC

When considering replacing or repairing your water main, there are a few key questions to consider. The main goal of these questions to ask yourself or a licensed contractor is to avoid any unnecessary type of water main work in the future.

Here are examples of good questions to ask about your water main:

  1. Does the company performing the work operate under a licensed plumber who specializes in sub surface water main and sewer installations? It’s important to work with only licensed professionals as it’s illegal for a non-licensed plumber to perform any sub surface plumbing repair work in NYC.
  2. What material is the existing pipe made of? If you are entertaining the idea of repairing a small section of the pipe, it’s best not to connect two different types of alloys of metal. Connecting multiple metal alloys will most likely lead to a secondary leak in the future. If your pipe is made of lead or galvanized pipe, it’s not an option to repair the pipe and the entire service line must be replaced.
  3. What size pipe do I currently have? Is there any benefit to increasing the size of my water main? The answer to this question is not as straight forward as one might would think. There are several variables that your licensed plumber should review—such as the total amount of plumbing fixtures in the house, the size of your existing connection to the city main, and what is allowed under the NYC DEP plumbing code.
  4. What permits are required for your water main? A water main repair in NYC may require anywhere from two to three types of permits, depending on the details associated with your work. The different permits include DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), DOT (Department of Transportation), and NYC Parks Department. It’s important to understand that permits are usually required for sub surface repairs. You should obtain a copy of the permits from your licensed plumber for your records. Note- some of these factors may differ in one-off scenario and should be reviewed case-by-case.
  5. Does your water main repair require a DEP or DOT on-site inspection? These requirements differ pending the size and type of water main that is being installed (Sprinkler, domestic, or combined). The rules and regulations regarding on-site inspections tend to change over time and should be reviewed as a precaution. This will make sure your work is being completed in compliance with the NYC DEP and DOT.
  6. What material is being used for my water main repair? This is another variable that varies pending on the size of your water main. If the new water main is anywhere from 1”-2”, it will be installed using K grade copper. Most water mains from 3” and larger are installed using ductile iron pipe.

Ductile iron pipe

The details associated with each of the items mentioned above should be reviewed in great detail as the city continues to revise and implement new regulations for water main repairs in NYC. It’s important to consult with an experienced NYC Licensed Master Plumber to avoid any future issues with your installation.

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