What is a Leaking Tap for Your Water Main?

May 13, 2020

It is common for a homeowner to confuse a leaking tap with a leaking water main being that both are classified as “water main leaks”. However, replacing a leaking tap is completely different from replacing a leaking water main.  In many cases the property owner is not made aware of a leaking tap until after the licensed plumber begins working.

What you need to know

If the tap is leaking your plumber must get a special permit from DEP as well as scheduling the city to shut down the water main for your entire street. The plumber is now reliant on DEP to provide a date for the shut down and once the date is issued your plumber must make sure the roadway is open, city main is prepared and ready for the new tap installation.

Water main tap leaking

Assuming all goes well with the city main shut down the city will either extract the existing tap and re-use the hole by screwing in the new tap. If the new tap does not fit the existing hole the city will put a sleeve over the main and drill in a new tap connection for your water main to be re-connected to.

DEP installs new tap

If you water main is made of copper the DEP will allow you to re-connect the existing pipe to the new tap. If the main is made of galvanized or lead pipe the city will require the property owner to replace the entire service line with copper from the house, to the street.

There are additional factors to be considered if your water main is larger than two inches including material to be used and DEP guidelines for the tap connection.

Once the new tap is installed and re-connected it must be inspected by a DEP inspector. This inspection is scheduled one-day prior by your licensed plumber.

Water line connected to new tap

Who is responsible for the cost?

In NYC the property owner is responsible for the total cost of the tap connection, permits, material as well as any time incurred for the city to shut down the city main which are referred to as “shut down fees”. Shut down fees are not always applicable but if the plumber does receive a bill from the city the property owner is always responsible for the cost.

If you have any reason to believe that your tap connection to the city main is leaking please speak with a licensed plumber who specializes in sub surface water main and sewer installations. Managing water main leaks and tap installations is not for your average plumber and must be managed with attention to detail in order to remain compliant with DEP rules and regulations.