As time passes the NYC DOB and FDNY continue to monitor properties with fire sprinkler systems and require a functional sidewalk curb valve available for use on the outside of the building. The new DEP code requires the functional curb valve to be located within 18” of the city curb line.
It seems that properties throughout NYC are being summonsed for not having a curb valve exposed more than ever. Authorities are taking any chance they have to review a property and issue this violation.
When would your property be reviewed for a curb valve?
If a new fire sprinkler main is being installed the DEP is required on site to inspect the curb valve and curb box during the time of installation, while the ground is still open.
The city has been scheduling random inspections for different areas of NYC where they are solely looking to review the buildings curb valve and accessibility.
You may have a DEP or DOB inspector on site for something completely unrelated to the curb valve however, these inspectors are now being trained to review different areas outside of what they are on site for and many will pick up on an issue with the curb valve.
What to do if issued a summons to install a curb valve
The first step is to contact a NYC Licensed Master Plumber who holds a bond with the Department of Transportation (not any Licensed Plumber). First the plumber should obtain records from DEP and see if there is any viable information on record.
The plumber should now take his experience coupled with the DEP records (if any available) and his onsite inspection to determine what the next best step is. Based on these three variables, the plumber may feel there is a functional curb valve which is buried under the sidewalk and may only need to install a new curb box/sleeve.
If for any other reason the plumber feels that the pipe is too old and/or corroded, he may suggest to replace the entire service line instead of wasting time with a repair on an old pipe. There are also cases where the plumber may feel that the existing pipe is in such condition where he can install a new curb valve and obtain the DEP required inspections.
How to install a new curb valve?
First the plumber must obtain DEP and DOT permit to open the roadway and sidewalk. The first step in the excavation process is to open on hole over the city water main so the water can be shut off in anticipation of the new curb valve.
Once the water has been shut off, the plumber will excavate on the sidewalk within 18” of the city curb line and prepare to cut the existing pipe for the new curb valve.
If installing a new curb valve on existing piping the new installation will require a sleeve to re-connect back to the existing piping.
Once the pipe installation is completed the DEP will inspect and sign off, which is followed by a formal “sign off” for the customer to document as completion for the violation.