Main Water Service Line Repair: The 10 Steps For A Successful Water Repair Job

Water Main Service
April 15, 2013

by David Balkan


When main water service line repair or water line replacement work is needed, work should be carefully planned. Work should likewise proceed using a common-sense approach. Using a 10 point plan ensures a seamlessly performed plumbing job. A careful plan also results with a minimum of unexpected issues. The end result and final goal for a water main contractor should always be a satisfied customer.

Sewer Line Replacement
Avoiding damage to a wall

1. Proper testing for the water line leak

Accurately determining if you have a water leak is obviously the first step before any work proceeds. It usually requires no special tools or equipment. But it does require care and a step-by-step process.

A homeowner can usually perform the test themselves. But calling a licensed plumber and your local water authority is usually the best bet. Either way, you will incur little or no cost. Balkan Sewer And Water Main provides a commonsense and easy to follow water leak testing guide on how to check for various types of water leaks. Every year water service line repair work is started due to an incorrect diagnosis.

Balkan provides free and no obligation site visits to determine if you have a water line leak or not. Trained professionals are available 7 days a week.

2. A clearly written proposal and uniform pricing policy

If it determined that your main water line is leaking, is it vitally important that the scope of work and cost be clearly put in writing. In a stressful time, such as a plumbing emergency, words can be misunderstood and disagreements can arise. Work orders must always be put in writing, and be easy to understand. Needless to say, the cost of a water service line repair or replacement must also be clearly stated in writing. That is an assurance of a fair price for the work. One of the best ways to be assured of a fair price in an emergency situation is to trust a water main contractor that uses a uniform pricing policy.

3. Proper utility mark out and locating

Water main and sewer contractors more than ever must take steps before ever mobilizing. One key is taking all possible precautions to avoid damage to underground utility lines. In a city like New York most utility lines are buried. Some of these lines are very large and complex main distribution lines. These include fiber optic cable lines that can contain hundreds of lines. Other lines are specially coated distribution lines who’s surface cannot be scratched.

In addition, the use of PVC tubing in lieu of metal piping is becoming more and more widespread. PVC is more easily damaged than some other types of materials. Breaking or disturbing just one of these specialty underground utilities while performing a water line repair or a water line replacement can wipe out a plumbing contractors profit for a year or more. Not to mention the inconvenience to the customer and the affected community.

utility lines
Underground utility lines in NYC

While an insurance carrier may pay the immediate bill, the contractor will feel the repercussions for years to come. That repercussion will be in the form of increased rates, or possible cancellation of insurance coverage. The customer themselves will suffer lengthily job delays. Balkan makes strict use of the New York 811 utility mark out system to avoid utility damage. The 811 system is also the law. The risk of damaging a utility line far outweighs the benefit of trying to rush along a plumbing installation.

4. Protecting the clients property

Part of any undertaking inside and outside someones home is respecting and protecting their property. Any water service line repair and replacement requires excavation, and drilling. While and other associated work that will cause dust and dirt to be an issue. It is important that a customer is properly informed to remove or cover articles of value in the work area. A few minutes of preparation can save hours of cleaning and inconvenience.

It should not be the clients responsibility to be familiar with specialized subsurface plumbing work. It is the contractors responsibility as a professional to clearly explain the scope of work. That of course includes when a water main replacement or repair is to be done. In many case,s as an added courtesy, excavation will be performed by hand. That is because when backhoe or heavy equipment would cause too much disturbance to landscaping, brick work, or other carefully finished areas.

Balkan gives clear written and verbal instructions to each client before work is started. That is also why each crew carries tarps and plywood to cover landscaping and promises to leave each site broom clean.

5. A safe main water service line repair work site

When water service line repair and replacement work is performed, proper safety precautions must be taken. This includes proper direction for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. In addition to worker safety, safety for the general public is also vitally important. Unfortunately in some cases a water main or sewer contractor may get caught up in completing the repair work, but neglect proper safety precautions. As important as completing a project on time is maintaining work site safety. Even more important may be proper direction and safety for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well.

traffic cones
A safe site at all times

Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service is a well respected NYC water service line repair and sewer contractor. They always pay close attention to all aspects of safety, including issues that involve the general public. As part of that philosophy Balkan utilizes a variety of safety and directional signs that meet or exceed requirements. In addition, a carefully written company safety manual is enforced. As well as equipping each team member with personal safety gear. This is all part of The Balkan Safety Package, which includes all field workers being 10 hour OSHA certified.

6. Top notch plumbing materials

New York City water line replacement and water service line repair work requires top notch materials. Unlike many areas of the country, NYC water main work poses special challenges and conditions. Frequent ground shifting due to dramatic temperature changes each year is one factor. Another factor particular to NYC is a higher incidence of utility excavation due to the age of many subsurface facilities. Yet another issue is the large number of underground facilities present in NYC.

main water line repair
Domestic K copper used exclusively

For these reasons, and simply to provide a higher quality water service line repair or replacement Balkan uses domestic K copper exclusively. In addition Balkan uses brass fittings that meet or exceed plumbing code requirements. A high quality NYC water line repair or water line replacement starts with superior materials.

7. Attention to detail and the plumbing code

When a water main replacement is performed details can be overlooked. These details can become very important later on. Like many construction or plumbing projects the devil is in the details. However, unlike most installations a water main replacement gets buried. Unfortunately some plumbers are like doctors, they bury their mistakes.

water line replacement
Installation of shallow water main

Balkan is a firm that is familiar with the NYC plumbing code. In addition, Balkan has quality assurance personnel on each job job. This ensures that all details of the installation are closely attended to.

8. A properly backfilled and clean job site

NYC residents have almost come to expect that after sewer repair or main water line work is performed that the excavations will sink and settle. Sinkholes and potholes are frequently a common reminder that sewer or water main work was done at some point in time. Of course this is unacceptable to both the general public, the NYC DOT, and any reputable sewer and water main contractor.

Broom clean and safe job site

Joseph L. Balkan as the largest sewer and water main contractor in NYC, took steps to ensure that its excavations do not sink. Balkans completed work remain flush and level for years after it completes any sewer repair or main water line work. Routine to its operation is carting away unsuitable excavated material. Then trucking in clean backfill material at no additional charge. Likewise next day permanent restoration of disturbed areas is performed professionally by in-house paving and cement crews.

But perhaps most importantly is that Balkan employs a licensed compaction testing company. It is overseen by a highly professional and certified individual. John Lynch performs compaction testing using a nuclear density gauge whenever sewer repair and water main repair excavations are backfilled by Balkan. In addition each job site is left broom clean, both inside and outside the Clients property.

9. Restoring disturbed areas

Most people remember a water main repair or sewer repair by how disturbed areas are restored, not by the installation itself. So how a NYC water main and sewer contractor performs cement work is very important to their reputation. It is for that reason that the owners of Balkan Sewer And Water Main Service take particular pride in the high quality concrete work, and level of service they provide to their clients. That is why sidewalk and roadway repairs are never subcontracted to outside companies.

Concrete work
Finished sidewalk cement by Balkan

Balkan invests a lot of time, money, and effort into job coordination. The hiring of skilled workers, and purchasing proper tools and equipment to perform cement work is also part of the package. Excellent quality and service do not happen by accident. The very same high standards apply to asphalt restoration. This is also performed by highly trained in-house paving crews.

  • Balkans cement crew learned the trade from working with their Father before working for Balkan – They have two generations of experience.
  • Concrete work orders are carefully coordinated to allow for completed restoration typically performed within 24 hours of the installation (weather permitting).
  • Modern and state of the art tools, equipment, and concrete trucks for timely and high quality work.
  • Specific mix designs for different cement applications – Your assurance of the correct concrete to meet the need and a long-lasting repair.
  • Each cement work order carefully barricaded and protected when completed.
  • Quality assurance follow-up site visit that includes caulking all expansion joints and removal of all barricades and site protection.
  • A three year unconditional guarantee on all sidewalk cement work.

10. A happy customer

Step number 10 requires no explanation. Over 65 years of experience and family oversight can make that happen.

New sidewalk cement
Another happy customer
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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

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