Water Line Replacement Cost
May 10, 2014

The average property owner will experience a broken or leaking water main once in a lifetime. The average lifespan of a water main is in-between 50-65 years. If a water main break does occur, it is usually unexpected and costly. It is important for a property owner to understand the cost factors, along with each step of the installation process. You should feel comfortable that the installation process is being managed properly and all at a reasonable price.

A copper water main replacement throughout the five boroughs should cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,500 pending a few additional cost variables to be discussed below. 

Which side of the street is the city water main on?

Long water main
“Long water main”

Short water main
“Short water main”

 In the world of water main installations, each job is considered a “long water” or “short water”. This is determined by the location of the city water main, which in most cases can be identified by the location of the fire hydrant on your street. The city water main is usually located on the same side of the street as the fire hydrant and most often anywhere form 2’ to 8’ off of the curb line. If your house is on the “short side”, it will require less material, technicians and time to complete the installation. If your house is on the long side, the city water main is on the opposite side of the roadway form your house. A “long water” will require additional restoration of the roadway, material and time for your installation. The additional cost associated with a long water may range anywhere from an additional $600 to $1,600.  

What size water main does your home require?

what size water main

When determining the proper size water main for your house, there are three primary factors taken into consideration. The first factor is the total amount of plumbing fixtures in your home, how many toilets, Kitchens, sinks etc. does your home have? The second factor deals with the distance of your home from the city water main and the final factor is the rate of flow (gallons per minute). A licensed plumber will follow a sizing table that will assist in determining the exact size of pipe required for your home. The size of your new pipe will not have a major impact on the overall installation cost; you may experience a $300 to $1000 variance pending the size which may result in additional material.

Has your roadway been resurfaced within the previous 5 years?

Compaction testing
Compaction testing

If the roadway fronting your home has been restored by NYC within the previous 5 years it is considered a “protected roadway”. A roadway under this classification is within a five year guaranteed period and calls for special back-fill process if broken open. The additional cost for a protected street is for  the special DOT permit fees, and the soil compaction testing of the dirt before it is placed back in the roadway. The total additional cost may range anywhere from $600 to $1800 pending the specifics of your water main installation. The special testing requires the licensed plumber to notify the soil compaction company as well as the NYC DOT two hours in advance of the testing. The compaction company and the DOT inspector will arrive at the location and hold a joint inspection while the soil is being placed back into the roadway.

Does your house require a new tap?

DEP installing new tap
DEP installing new tap

New tap
New tap

A tap connection is the valve that connects the private water main to the city water main.The tap controls the water volume and pressure running form the city main to the house and in many cases is the only way to turn off the water from the city main.

The most common reason for a new tap installation is if the current size tap does not fall within current plumbing code. In this case your licensed plumber will schedule a date for the DEP to install a new tap on the city main. The licensed plumber will obtain all permits and excavate to prepare the city main for the DEP to install the new tap.

Other common reasons for a new tap installation are if you are building a new house or if you are upgrading the size of the water line and the current size tap is too small to supply sufficient pressure through out your home.The total cost for a new tap installation is around $300. There may be additional cost associated with labor, time and restoration in preparing for the tap.

How much restoration is required?

Harris restores roadway
Harris restores roadway

The restoration cost ranges anywhere from $400 up to $1,600 pending the amount of holes being made on the public sidewalk, roadway and on the property.  A short water will usually require less restoration than a long water due to the footage to work within for the new installation. In some cases, the grounds may be challenging to work in and require trenches to be made for the installation. Trenching large areas of the roadway or concrete will always add cost to the overall price.

A note to the property-owner

The information in this article is specific to domestic water mains that are of two inches or smaller. There are additional factors to consider when dealing with sprinkler mains or combined water services. Other factors that may lead to a pricing variance are if the city water main is over 60’ away from your house, on a heavily traveled roadway or if working in certain areas of Manhattan and the Bronx.

Watch our video on the water main installation process here

**Note- The information included in this article is from 2014, pricing is subject to change pending the date you are reviewing this article