3 Things To Do If You Suspect A NYC Water Main Break

Water Main Service
April 20, 2015

by David Balkan

NYC water main break under the roadway.

Water main breaks can wreak havoc, especially in a crowded metropolis like New York City. They are not just an inconvenience for residents and businesses. They are also expensive, time-consuming, and labor-intensive to fix. As a citizen, there isn’t much you can do to fix a water main break in NYC yourself. However, there are things that you should do right away if you suspect a NYC water main break. Taking some initial steps can help to protect yourself and your neighbors.

1. Report the NYC Water Main Break to Authorities

Do not presume that someone else has already called to report the possible water main break. Even a NYC water main break doesn’t necessarily mean someone has already taken the initiative to report it. You may well be the first person to notice that something is awry within the water system. If you witness water rising from out of the street, or a decrease in water pressure in your home or business, call 311 or contact 311 online. Then ask to be connected to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection or NYC DEP.

Be prepared to give the DEP details about what is happening, where it is, and your contact information. The more information you can provide the DEP the faster the correct type of crew can be sent. Make it clear it is a water main break, not a sewer issue. Of course include the location to resolve the situation, or determine the source of the leak.

2. Turn Off Your Water From Your Main Valve

If you are experiencing water running inside your home or business, turn off the main water valve. If the leak is inside your home, that will stop any additional water from entering the structure. It will likewise save you from additional potential damage. Do your best to clean up any standing water to avoid issues with mold. Not only will this mitigate any further damage to your structure, but it will also ensure that your personal belongings and business assets do not get damaged.

service line gate valve
Turn a gate valve clockwise to close it

Turning off your main valve may also make it easier for the water main repair professionals to take care of the problem once they arrive. Even if there is no leakage inside, it is a good idea to turn off the water if there is a major break outside. Doing this can prevent dirt, corrosion, or debris from getting into your home’s plumbing system. If you hear rumbling on your pipes, or your water meter is spinning wildly, there is a good chance some pipe ruptured inside your property.

A curb stop valve in the sidewalk area

In many cases, you may have a curb stop valve, also known as a curb valve. If the leak appears to be between the front of your home and the curb valve, you may need it closed. It is best to trust the closing a curb valve to a professional. Curb stop valves can be temperamental, and require specialized curb valve keys.

sidewalk leak
Active water leak from a curb stop valve

Curb stop valves have only recently become a requirement for all water service lines in NYC. As water main repair in NYC is more expensive than in other areas, having a sidewalk valve to close can save substantial money when a NYC water main break occurs on private property.

Check With Your Neighbors – It Might Not Be Your Leak!

The water main break may frequently not be on your property. In fact, it could be an adjoining property that is having the water main break. When a New York City water main breaks, there are frequently extenuating circumstances that make determining the true source of a leak difficult for all but trained professionals. You should contact your neighbors and the businesses surrounding you to see if they are also experiencing any issues such as loss of water pressure, or a rumbling sound from their plumbing.

If there is a major problem affecting everyone in the neighborhood, you will find out very quickly. At the same time, you could be the first to notice and your inquiry will alert your neighbors to the issue. Not only will you be looking out for yourself, but you could also save someone else’s property. In some cases, a city water main break can make it appear as though your service line is leaking when it is not. If a city water main breaks, it would typically affect multiple properties.

3. Call the Trained Professionals

When a water service line breaks in NYC, is not part of the city infrastructure. It is considered the homeowner’s property. It is likewise considered the sole responsibility of the property owner. In these cases, you need to call trained professionals. Keep in mind that water main repairs and replacements can only be performed by a company with a Licensed Master Plumber on staff, such as Balkan Sewer And Water Main.

The water main repair professionals at Balkan Sewer And Water Main are familiar with the permitting process that accompanies many water main repairs. We can help you navigate this complex and often costly situation with ease. Balkan has field personnel available seven days a week, and after hours as well.

If you are experiencing water main problems, and you’ve taken the steps outlined above, you are on your way to resolving the issue. If you need assistance, please get in touch with Balkan Sewer And Water Main for a no-obligation site visit. Our written estimates are likewise free and without any obligation to hire. One of our Balkan Team Members will be more than happy to assess the situation for you.

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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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