A broken water main may cause severe damage to your property or home if you do not respond quickly. Even if you do not feel you are in danger of a water main break, it is a good idea to be aware of the warning signs to avoid any problems in the future.
What is a water main?
First, you should understand what your water main is. It is common for homeowners to confuse the water main with the sewer. If you’ve never had to think about it, it can be confusing. The water main is the pipe that brings the clean water from the city main in the roadway to your residence. This water is used to service your sinks, showers and toilets, washing machines etc.
It is common for homeowners in all five boroughs to experience problems with their water main. However, it is most common for a property owner to require a water main repair in Brooklyn or Queens due to the age and infrastructure of the pipes below ground.
Signs of a water main leak
Water seeping out of the roadway or sidewalk fronting your home. This is one of the most common signs. It usually appears in the form of water seeping through a crack, a sinkhole in the roadway, or bubbling near the curb.
Another common, yet strong sign of a water main leak is low water pressure. However, it is possible that your water main is leaking, and you are not experiencing a loss in pressure.
Hearing a loud sound in or vibrations on your pipes near the front of the house. In most cases, the water main pipes should be completely silent. At most you may hear a low sound of water running through the pipes. If you become aware of an abnormally loud sound or vibration on your pipes it is suggested to call a NYC Licensed Master Plumber to assess the situation.
Water seeping through your foundation wall is probably the most alarming sign of a water main leak as it may result in immediate damage to your property. In most cases it is either the water main or the sewer creating a backflow of water through the wall however, there are scenarios where it is the city main or even a neighbor’s water main leaking into the building.
Water main leak violation in error
Recently at Harris Water Main & Sewer, we were excavating for a water main repair in Brooklyn after our customer had received a three day notice violation from the NYC DEP. After excavating down to the city main, we first closed the tap connection to the city pipe and noticed the water main leak did not slow down at all.
Per standard protocol we waited another thirty minutes. After waiting the designated time, we finally concluded it was not our customer’s water main that was leaking and notified the DEP immediately.
A DEP field supervisor arrived on site within an hour to confirm that it was the neighbor’s water main leaking. At this stage a violation was issued to the neighbor and we began assisting our customer with the NYC Comptrollers reimbursement process.