Who Is Responsible for A Leaking Water Main In the Street?

March 5, 2019

We receive daily inquiries on this subject matter. It is totally understandable as one would assume that a leaking pipe under the roadway is the responsibility of whoever manages all roadway conditions (DOT in NYC). To the surprise of most, the property owner is responsible for a leaking water main under the roadway.

Another reason for the confusion is that the city or town is responsible for a leaking pipe in Winchester and Long Island. Property owners in NYC tend to assume the same until notified otherwise. The property owner is actually responsible for the leaking pipe from the house, out to the street.

What is the process when installing a new water main?

The first step is to excavate and open the roadway to locate your tap connection on the city main.

jackhammer roadway for new tap
Digging for the tap

Tap has been located
Tap has been located

At the same time that the plumber is digging for the new tap the rest of the field crew will start to prepare additional excavations for the new water main.

Digging on property for the new water line

Now that all of the excavations have been completed we will begin working on the underground tunnel for the new piping installation.

Tunnels for copper water main

In some cases, DEP will require the entire street to be trenched out pending the specifics of the job.


roadway trenched for new 3" water main

Once the new pipe is successfully installed it is connected to the city main and on the inside of the building.


Connected to city main in roadway
Connected to city main in roadway
The connection on the inside of the house

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