The Difference Between DEP Three Day Notice and Ten Day Notice

A DEP three-day notice and ten-day notice are both issued to property owners after the city has determined that the water main or fire sprinkler line are defective and leaking.

The primary difference between the two notices are that a ten-day notice serves as a notification that the water supply has been terminated. In this case DEP opens a hole in the roadway and actually closes the water supply connection on the city main, which is known as a wet tap connection. The building no longer has any running water through the pipe.

A three-day notice serves a warning notice that the water supply is leaking and is in jeopardy of being turned off by the city if the leak is not repaired within three days.

Why would DEP issue a three-day notice?

Most commonly the notice is issued after a leak surfaces in the roadway or the sidewalk. A neighbor usually makes a call to 311 and reports the leak. At this itime DEP begins the investigation process.

Another common occurrence is if the property owner is experiencing a loss of water pressure and could not figure out why so they notify DEP and request an investigation. In this case the DEP will report to the home and perform a noise test on the water main as well as investigate the city main and confirm their is adequate pressure.


The final and most common reason is if the water main is leaking into a neighbor’s property or basement. If the water main is leaking into a neighboring basement the DEP may even issue a ten-day notice and turn off the water pending the severity of the leak.

Why would DEP issue a ten-day notice?

A Ten-day notice is usually issued for a water main break that is heavy enough to flood the street and potentially cause harm to others.  Another scenario would be if the water has been active for an extended period of time and has begun to cause an undermined of the roadway or sidewalk. The undermine will usually surface in the form of a sinkhole which is extremely dangerous to pedestrians and neighbors.

It is also common for a ten-day notice to be issued if the water main or fire sprinkler main is leaking into another utility and potentially causing harm. In these scenarios the water would be turned off on an emergency basis by the DEP.

How to resolve a ten-day or three-day notice?

First it is important to find a trusted NYC licensed master plumber who specializes in repairing and replacing water mains on the outside of the house. The typical plumber who fixes your leaking sink or clears your sewer line with a snake is not the type of plumber you require to resolve a DEP violation notice.

There are a select few companies in NYC who specialize in excavating the roadway and sidewalk to repair water mains in adherence to DEP violation notices. The plumber must obtain permits with both DEP and DOT for the repair.

If the existing water main is made of galvanized or lead pipe the city will actually require the plumber to replace the entire service line and disallow a repair to be made. In most cases replacing the entire water main may make most sense for the property owner and especially if the existing pipe is 40+ years old. A pipe of this age may end of leaking again in the future if a repair was attempted on the pipe.

Once the water main repair or replacement is completed the licensed plumber must submit paperwork including all details of the water main repair which will be filed and documented by DEP.

If you have received a three-day or ten-day notice it is important to discuss all variables and options with your plumber to avoid any future leaks or potential problems stemming from the violation notice. It is also important to understand the least expensive option is not always the best option for the future of your water main.

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