A Water Main Line Break Can Be Technically Challenging

Water Main Service
August 18, 2014

by David Balkan

water main break

A recent water main line break in Queens proved to be most challenging. Most water main contractors can handle typical underground leaks. But when unique situation present themselves, that’s when a highly experienced plumber can show off their skill and expertise.

After calling numerous NYC water main contractors a property owner decided to hire Balkan. Not only was the price fair, but their degree of understanding the situation was a comfort to the owner. The water main line break in question was on a 4″ iron service main, larger than the typical service line.

water main break
Leak on a wet connection valve

What made this job so unusual was that the break was not on the line itself, but rather on the connection to the city main. The bolts that held the bonnet of the wet connection valve in place had rotted away. In addition the gasket between the body and bonnet of the valve needed to be replaced as well.Unlike what many people believe, the actual connection for a water service line belongs to the property owner. If a tap connection or wet connection becomes defective the property owner incurs all costs to repair or replace it. This includes a DEP shutdown fee if the city main has to be closed.

Typically when a wet connection leaks an entire section of the city main has to be shut down to perform the repair. This not only inconveniences the neighborhood, but it delays the repair because notices have to be posted and arrangements made with the DEP. Only DEP field forces are permitted to close a city water main. In addition, when the DEP does a shutdown there are fees that are added to the original bill for the repair work.

A unique solution for a water main line break

An experienced Balkan Field Supervisor manipulated the valve on the city main. He put the valve gate in a position so that the water that was leaking was limited. The wet connection valve could then be taken apart without actually shutting down the city main. The rotten bolts on the bonnet were carefully removed, then replaced with new bolts and nuts. In addition the old gasket was removed, and a new gasket fabricated on site.

repair water valve
Repairing a wet connection valve

All the components of the wet connection valve were then carefully placed back together. This water line main break in Queens NY was completed the very same day. In addition no additional charges were incurred by the owner, such as a DEP shutdown fee.

The next day a NYC DEP Field Inspector arrived on the site to look over and approve the repair, issuing a sign-off. A sign off from the DEP is a clients assurance of a job well-done and to code.

water main break
Completed water valve repair

A DEP field inspection is required on any water service line repair or replacement when the line is greater than 2″. In addition an inspection is required on any water service line that provides fire protection.

Trust the Balkan Team for any water main line break

No matter the Borough of NYC, the time of day, or the nature of the water main line break, trust Balkan for a timely and professional resolution. Because  every aspect of the operation is overseen by a family member, the level of professionalism is company-wide.

Our highly trained personnel will lead you through each and every stage of the water main repair or replacement process. Permits will be expedited quickly, required inspections arranged, and top-notch materials used on each and every job.

Since 1952 the Balkan family and its team members have built their reputation on fulfilling promises and creating trust.

Read what a recent AngiesList user had to say

The crew were extremely professional. I know I was stressed out because of everything that was going on, and because of it I had requests that were in retrospect unreasonable. But the Balkan Team was always very polite complied with all of them.

Because of said broken pipe everything was delayed and due to an non functioning sewer we were forced out of the house. So when they returned the next workday they stayed late to give us sewer back! They didn’t have to do it, but they did.

In the end everything was finished close to on time despite all the unexpected problems. We are very happy with the outcome and with the overall process. The kind of jobs that Balkan does are mostly once in a lifetime, so we likely won’t need them again, but if we did I would use them without hesitation – they were great!

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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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