As the DEP continues their efforts to install new water meters, property owners are receiving a DEP notifications stating that the existing water main must be replaced. This notice is catching many by surprise and in some cases, it is not clear why they are receiving the notification.
It all starts when the DEP contractor is scheduled to install a new water meter on the exiting water line. At this time they will first become aware of the existing material which will then result in the 45 day notice. Why is the notice issued and why is the property owner required to replace their water line?
The most important fact to consider is that any form of a repair on a lead or galvanized water main is illegal per the NYC plumbing code. The code does not allow for repairs to old lead or galvanized pipe and if it is required, the pipe must be upgraded to copper or ductile iron. The size of the pipe will determine which type of material is allowable.
The second most important factor to consider is that attempting a repair on a brittle or fragile water main can be dangerous and potentially lead to a hazardous condition. There are non licensed plumbers who may entertain these type of repairs however, the repair will not be approved and it will lead to additional cost in the future. You must hire a lice master plumber (LMP) to replace the water main before a new meter is installed.
It is always suggested to obtain water main replacement estimates, to understand the process and cost associated with replacing the water main before the new meter is installed.
Once the water line is replaced, you should contact the DEP and notify them of the lead water line replacement has been completed and you are now ready for the new meter to be installed. You should also mention that you want to file the meter installation under the Reimbursable Metering Program (RMP) and request an application.
If you have received the violation notice from DEP it is important to have the corrective work completed within 45 days. A failure to complete the work may result in the assessment or denial of access fees and related charges in accordance with New York City law.