Are You Required to Replace Your Lead Water Main With Copper in NYC ?

December 7, 2017

At the present time New York City does not require homeowners to replace their lead water mains with copper however, there are talks that this is all about to change. The primary concern are the hazardous lead pipes that may be seeping into our domestic water supply. This is the same water that we drink from, shower in, clean our house with etc.

Lead water main replaced with copper

Lead water main replaced with copper
Lead water main replaced with copper

The real challenge is to located exactly where the lead pipes are located, the underground water supply throughout NYC dates back more than one hundred years and there is no real way to determine where the lead pipes are located.

The city has been in discussions to avoid assuming all of the risk with potential lead poison and mandate all homes with lead water pipes to be replaced with copper. The exact method of notifying each homeowner has yet to be revealed but sources say that the bill is in the midst of being passed.

A few things for homeowners to be mindful of:

  • It is a good idea to get ahead of the curve and proactively change your water main to avoid the rising cost of water main and sewer construction work.
  • If your home still has a lead water main it is at a much greater risk of corroding, cracking, breaking and ultimately springing a leak. A leak can range from a small drip at a connection to the house valve or as severe as flooding your basement, or even completely separating which would cause a loss of water to the house. Most homeowners like to avoid an emergency situation in addition to any expense incurred due to these issues.
A recent lead water main break
A recent lead water main break
  • If you are planning on selling the property a lead water main will be flagged by the home inspector and will end up falling under the responsibly of the current owner to have replaced.

Does insurance cover lead water main replacements?

Insurance companies do not cover the replacement of lead water mains. The upgrade of your lead water line to copper always falls under the homeowners responsibly.

What does a copper water main installation look like?

Once the roadway has been opened the installation team begins with making water main tunnels

Water main tunnels
Water main tunnels
Copper from street to inside building

Once the new copper is installed, the plumber can begin connecting the piping

New copper pipe in replacement of lead
New copper pipe in replacement of lead
New copper connected inside the house
New copper connected inside the house

Watch our video detailing the water main installation process here

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