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What Part of the Water Main Needs Repairing?

Two types of repairs can be made when referencing water main. The question becomes which water main repair needs to be performed? The main water service entering a building or residence or the actual water main in the street? If the water main or service is leaking or has been cut while doing a repair or new construction the b-box, round way or corporation cock needs to be found at the residence or building.

Water Main RepairThese usually can be found in the breezeway in front of a home, sometimes these are buried under the grass. If this is the case call the village or town you’re to have them locate it for you. They extend up from the depth of the municipal main. These b-box or round ways almost always have a special head and require a b-box key to turn off the water to the building. Usually the municipal department of a particular city specifies the design and they have the keys. This is necessary to make sure that no tampering takes place to the water supply. Once the water is turned off to the building the repair can be completed. The leak is located, the trench is dug and if the service is copper the repair can be made with repair couplings and a small section of copper pipe. If you’re one of the unfortunate souls that still has a lead water service, and believe me there are quite a few still active across the US, repairs become quite a bit more difficult. As most of you are aware, there have been some pretty explosive headlines about lead piping and water lines. Don’t panic, scale builds up pretty quickly on the inside of lead piping that offers some amount of protection from lead leaching. Aside from the health risks repairing lead is literally a lost art. Old time plumbers used to carry a lead wiping kit to install lead joints and repair leaks. The consisted of an asbestos cloth heavily treated with beeswax a scraper to clean the pipe and a bar of beeswax. The beeswax acted as a flux. Molten lead/tin was poured gingerly over the top of the joint and was caught by the cloth. The plumber then wiped the excess alloy around the joint building up layer upon layer of metal. I’m sure there is still a few people out there that know how to repair a lead leak but they are few and far between. Many municipalities force the home or business owner to install a copper service when a lead service is found.

If Water Main is Damaged in the Street it May Be a Municipal Issue

If the water main is damaged in street it is the responsibility of the municipality. The asphalt needs to be cut in the street. A machine is used to excavate down to the depth of the water main. Please use OHSA guidelines on excavation if you are a provider of this type a repair. We cannot stress enough important it is to use the proper shoring or angling when digging to these depths. Most water mains are ductile iron in the US so two ductile iron couplings and a piece of pipe would be used in the repair.

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