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Likely leak in water service line from street

a2shutt Member Posts: 97
Hi, just looking for some input in a little issue I have right now at an apartment building.

Starting in late summer/fall, I noticed a wet spot on/next to the sidewalk in the front yard. It's kind of a low spot, so i assumed it was just from the rain. However, it never seemed to dry up.

As it's gotten colder, I've gotten more perplexed. It is never frozen, even when it has been around zero here lately. Suddenly, the realization dawned on me the other day that it is precisely in line with the water line coming in from the street.

After a little bit of research, I waited until no one was using the water in the building (judging by the meter) and put my ear up to it. I could hear a slight noise that I'm assuming means water leaking.

So-I'm trying to figure out what to do. I've heard horror stories about $10,000+ water line replacements, which don't bring a lot of joy. I'm hoping the line can simply be dug up and repaired (it is 1" lead) but even if it has to be replaced it is only about 40 feet from the curb.

Obviously, I'm going to try to get this fixed as cheaply as I can. I can do the excavating (although I can't dig in the street unless I'm bonded) which will help. I haven't told the water department yet because I don't want them to order it fixed within 10 days or anything like that.

I'm wondering-any tips on how to best do this? Can I legally have lead lines repaired? Am I responsible for this line all the way from the water main, or just from the stop box? Any questions to ask as I shop for a plumber? I'm in southern Michigan.



  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,469
    If it's lead pipe

    replace it NOW whether or not it's leaking. It could poison someone.

    But it definitely sounds like it's leaking. You'll have to bite the bullet.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Old Post, Lead Water Service:

    In my experience with such things, if you have a lead water service into your property, it is also lead in the street. If it is lead from the Corporation Cock at the main in the street, and it is lead to the property line, it is almost always the responsibility ( I don't know where it isn't) of the water provider to replace it as per US EPA rules. If there is a Curb Stop between your property and the property line, the transition is probably there. If you have copper or brass pipe coming through the wall into the building, there is a transition. There has to be a transition somewhere. Lead transition fittings are notorious for leaking when they get very old. Once any underground leak starts, the turbulence of the water will wear through like someone took a cutting torch to it. If the water provider has a lead service from the street, they will do the road opening and permitting. If you need a new service, because you have lead, replace yours then.

    They do not need to cut a trench across the road. They can dig up the service on your side, cut a hole in the road above the main connection, and connect a device like pulling wire. Only they will pull in a new piece of Poly Pipe.

    I've done a lot of these. The secret is to not get in the face of the water company and start demanding a free service into your building. If you negotiate, you will almost always come out ahead. Go and ask them about lead services. If you're in Massachusetts, the water companies know where each and every lead service is and are planning on replacing them. If there are children living in the house, use that when you need to. But don't get "In Your Face" until you know the story.

    I say from experience. If the meter(s) are inside, the leaking water isn't being metered and they are losing revenue. Where I worked, the water company was always more than willing to get on it if you helped them out. But you have to know what's up and be willing.

    Good luck.
  • a2shutt
    a2shutt Member Posts: 97
    thanks for your help

    the line coming in to the building is lead, so I'm suspecting it is lead all the way out to the main. There is a stop box between the sidewalk and curb, though, so it COULD transition there. it is metered inside, so they are the ones paying for the lost water.

    so are you saying that if the service in the street is lead that they are obligated to replace it? And that they might (if I ask nicely) just re-do the entire service from the main to the meter?

    I haven't talked to the water department yet, because I don't want them knowing it is leaking until I'm ready to replace it. i don't want them imposing any sort of time limits on me to fix it until i'm ready.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Lead Services:

    No, I'm not saying that they will do nicely, nicely and replace the entire service, but they will replace it from their Corporation Cock at the main to the property line, or the Curb Stop. The curb stop is theirs and that is probably where the leak is. There is an adaption there from NPT to lead, on both sides. If the shut-off is leaking, they will have to dig up the street to  shut off the curb stop to replace the service. I have found (as a rule) that the water companies will help you with the problem with the lead service because they are there and if you share resources, they will be more than happy to help out. It is to YOUR advantage to carefully sound them out. They are experts at digging in streets. They will be changing the Curb Stop anyway so it isn't that much of a PITA for your plumber to be there and they pull out your lead with the rig that they used to pull out theirs.

    I can't quote you chapter and verse but I believe that it is an EPA directive under the safe drinking water act that water companies MUST replace all lead services by some date that is coming up soon. If you, as an owner, have children living in the building and a tenant has a water test done and it comes up high for lead (it will), your life will become extremely uncomfortable and you do not have a leg to stand on. It's like having an old apartment with lead paint.

    What I have always done with any customer I ever had that I suspected had a lead service, was to go to the water company and ask them what their records are as to what is there for a service on their side and your side. When they tell you that they don't know, they are lying. But they won't because it can turn out to be too much of a problem.

    They'll work with you. But don't put it off because if you do, and the service breaks, you could lose your advantages. If you have one.

    Good Luck.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166

    I don't want to hijack the thread but, I have a 3/4" galvanized service line in my basement.  What are the chances this connects to lead out side of the house?

    The original city water system was put in in 1881 which is when it was added to this house.  I don't know how old the galvanized pipe is but its pretty ratty, wish I could replace it but its not in the budget at this time.  In NJ everything after the corporation cock is my responsibility.  So basically everything from the curb to the house.  I've pondered trying to dig down to it with a post hole digger and change it my self but it seems like a lesson in pain.  I'm tired of those lessons and I've only owned a house since 2011.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2014
    Corporation Cocks & Other bits of useless Information:

    A "Corporation Cock" is a special fitting only used to tap into water mains. It has a very unusual male thread on one end that is tapped into the water main. There is no other fitting that it will fit into. It is in the street, NOT at the "Curb Stop". The only way to know if the service from the Main (Corporation Cock) is lead  is to dig up the street or ask the water provider what it is. As far as the Curb Stop, it will be Brass and is usually FPT on the outlet end. The other end (facing the Main) can be anything.

    One way to know is when was the house built. If it was built in 1900, rest assured that unless it was replaced, it's lead. If the pipe in your house is Galvanized, it is probably Wrought Iron Pipe. For some reason, Wrought Iron Pipe does not plaque up and rust out. I once connected to a 2" Galvanized water service, installed and buried in the early 1920's. I cut and threaded the pipe in place and it was as clean inside as if it was new. A 1920's developer had run 2" Wrought Iron Pipe all over this area. There had never been a failure.

    If you have your water meter inside, or in a pit outside, and in either case, the curb stop is between the meter and the main, it belongs to the water company. It is there so they can shut off the water and work on the meter.

    You need to talk to the water company. They usually have detailed and accurate records. The one I worked with had records of when it went in, the materials used, and the cost of the fittings.

    Like this. Notice, no place to pit a rod and must be turned with a wrench when dug up. They have a special tool that will drill the main and install the fitting without shutting off the pressure.


    "Curb Stops" have a union nut on one or both ends or are FTP inside on one or both ends. But all have a place to connect a curb box rod so you can turn it off with a underground key wrench.


    I hope that this helps.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166
    edited January 2014

    I meant curb stop. The meter is inside but according to the water company I own the pipe from the meter to the curb stop which to me makes no sense.

    The house was built sometime in the 1860s and the water service was installed in 1881. I found some really nasty pipes next to the current one which I assume someone ripped out and left them there.

    So, if the service line up to the curb stop is lead, it sounds like I can persuade the water company into changing it? But even them, wouldn't the main be lead also? They just did a water main repair 2 blocks from me after the weather warmed up it was leaking bad right in the middle of a 4 way intersection.

    Edit : forgot to mention. Back in 2011 when we ripped out all of the galvanized pipe, except for the incoming line, every pipe was spotless inside. I keep assuming the incoming line has problems because my water pressure stinks especially if you flush a toilet. I have 3/4" copper for the majority of things splitting down to 1/2" to each fixture. I see no reason my pressure would drop a lot when water is used unless the service line has problems.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • a2shutt
    a2shutt Member Posts: 97

    I did a bit of research on the EPA requirements for water companies replacing lead service lines. From what I can tell, the maximum allowable amount is 15 ppb (parts per billion). If it is over that amount, the municipality is required to replace the lead service on their side of the curb stop.

    In our area, the water quality report from last year shows 33 samples taken and the average amount of lead was 0 ppb.

    Basically, I'm guessing that no water department is going to change any lead lines unless that 15 ppb threshold is crossed or is at least close.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Curb Stops and other things:

    The Curb Stop that belongs to the water company is either on the edge of your property or just on it. What is on your property, you own and are responsible for.

    If you have a really old crib, and it had a lead service, there is often a board nailed to the brick that the lead pipe was clamped to. It was bent to make it up the wall. It probably had a lead service when the water was first run. You say that there are multiple pipes going through the wall, cut off. Is one lead? If one is lead, it has already been abandoned. It was probably replaced at their curb stop. The MAIN in the street is Cast Iron. The water lateral off the main is the lead part. If you have galvanized pipe coming through the foundation and you are using it, it is probably galvanized pipe. If it is lead, many lead water services are 5/8" ID lead. The OD is over an inch. But the weight of a coil of lead is overwhelming. A 5/8" lead service will give you a low flow. Then, if there is a wiped splice in the pipe, it can be a restriction. Have your water checked for lead content. If the old dead plumbers replaced a lead water service, they usually tried to rip out the old pipe. It was valuable and was scrap like copper today. For car batteries and paint. If your galvanized pipe was clear, it might have been Wrought Iron.

    There are companies that specialize in running conduit under roads. You don't have to dig a new Grand Canyon to replace your water service.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2014
    EPA limits:

    Water providers are supposed to keep their lead limits at 15 PPB. If you draw water out of a fire hydrant that is totally connected to Cast Iron, you will get a zero level if you run it for 15 minutes.

    You as a homeowner, need to do a first draw test. That's take a sample the first thing in the morning. Run the water for a minute or two and draw a sample. Then run it for ten minutes and take another sample. If both are zero, don't worry about the lead. But, if the first is high, and the second is low, you have lead leaching.

    Lead is a serious human health issue. I didn't believe it at first but I have come to believe that it isn't bogus. Especially if you have children. The research is far ahead of the public knowledge. Trust me.

    The water companies aren't always forthright in telling you. I had an old house that had a lead service from the street/meter and through the house. The water company told me that the lead had been replaced from the main to the meter in the side walk. 25 years later, when they were redoing all the sewers and water mains in the street, they told me that they were going to replace the lead from the main to the meter. They didn't want the expense of digging up the street. That's why you have to sort of act like that Colombo detective that Peter Falk played on TV. Be smart but act incompetent.

    Check with your State Health Departments. States can set higher limits for lead than EPA because it is a public health issue.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166
    water test

    icesailor, can you recommend a good water test? With a baby on the way I'd like to know whats in our drinking water. I've considered installing a secondary filtered tap on our kitchen sink, maybe I'll proceed a little faster. I have to assume most if not all of these filter heavy metals.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Water Testing:

    Do the Google for water testing and be sure to add your city, town or area to the search string. Or, if you know any home inspectors, ask them who they use. It can be a requirement for a home inspection for a sale. A house as old as yours needs a lead paint test anyway.

    Where I worked, there was one lab in Sandwich, MA every town and well driller sent their samples to. It won't be hard to find. But do that "First Draw" test like I told you. That's how houses get flunked. If you run the water for 10 minutes like they suggest, the leachate will be gone. Don't allow ANY lead leachate into your baby. It's not good under ANY circumstances.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166

    Yeah when we bought we were offered to do a lead test (at our cost) and I said no because I had no doubt that there is lead paint here. I'm about to redo the room for the baby and things will either be stripped or coated properly.

    For the test, I redid almost all of the piping in the house as it was galvanized and I of course used lead free solder. How can I be sure my sample comes from water that was laying in a section of pipe outside the house? Or, am I over complicating this?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I have to assume most if not all of these filter heavy metals.

    Most filters (those without activated charcoal) remove only particles. I.e., stuff large enough to be filtered. Say 25 microns, or 5 microns, depending on the filter you have. They do not filter the small stuff (viruses, for example, or dissolved stuff like salt, chlorine, etc.). Now the ones with activated charcoal will remove some dissolved substances, but still not viruses. So whatever "heavy metals" are, if they are in the form of large enough physical particles, a filter could remover them. But if they are the form of dissolved salts, then the filter would not remove them. (Possibly an osmotic filter could remove some salts, but probably not all).

    Filters removing particles will eventually clog up and lose their effectiveness. You can tell that after a while because the maximum flow is reduced. But some of the effectiveness may have been lost already.

    I do not know the symptoms of an exhausted charcoal filter, so I would not know how to tell when to replace one of those. Probably by the number of gallons passed through the filter. I wonder if anyone puts a water meter at a filter location.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166

    It seems like a Aquasana 2 stage system removes lead or at least they claim it does 99.3% overall. They tell you to change the filters every 500 gallons or 6 months @ $60 a pair. I've got a feeling they work but at $120 a year for filters, ouch. Makes me wonder if the Brita pitchers work or not.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Just do more than one "First Draw".

    You're not oversimplifying anything. For all the money that manufacturer spent to try to stop anti-lead regulations, medicine and science trumped money and BS for once. Just like asbestos.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Read this:

    Read this, print it out and read it again. Buy the book.

    anyone that doesn't believe this stuff is living in Egypt beside the De Nile River.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,162

    are no substitute for removing the lead pipes, as icesailor recommends.

    If the lead is in solution -- and it will be -- no filter.  Repeat: NO filter is going to remove it.  There are a few ion exchange systems which can reduce it substantially, but they require special media and chemical addition.  Reverse osmosis units can reduce it somewhat -- but they are remarkably expensive critters to buy and operate.

    Just test for lead, exactly as ice has told you to, and get rid of the lead pipes if you have any lead in the water.

    As to filters and treatment units in general (disclaimer: I worked in the potable water treatment field for years) treat with care.  For some things -- such as silty or sandy water -- they work well.  Just replace the element when the water pressure starts to drop.  Treatment units for hard water, acidic water, or iron in water work pretty well, if you keep the chemicals topped up and maintain them.

    Charcoal filters do a fine job at removing taste and odours and, to a certain extent, chloramines.  However.  They are pretty close to ideal growth media for bacteria.  If you want to use one, fine.  Just take the manufacturer's recommended change interval -- which should be in both gallons used and days in service -- and cut it in half or less, and never use the filter past that point. 

    Charcoal filters do NOT remove heavy metals in solution -- which they will be.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166
    edited January 2014
    What to do

    The filters are useless for this, understood.

    I found a local water testing place that will do it for $50 per sample. Next problem will be if they find levels below 15ppm, say 12 ppm it sounds like the water company doesn't have to do anything. None of my pipes will be the problem so it won't be anything I can fix at that point.

    Thank you for the help Jamie and Icesailor. I appreciate it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2014
    Worry Priorities:

    Did you thoroughly read the article?

    If you live in a house as old as you say, you have more to worry about than your lead water service. The little secret that no one likes to talk about is that if, when you get up in the morning, and before you make coffee (unless you use bottled water), flush the toilets, take a shower, and generally run as much cold water as you can. That gets rid of the lead leachate. It's the long times of no water running that causes the problems. There could be lots of lead tainted water in a water heater.

    The only really effective method for removing lead from drinking water is with a RO (Reverse Osmosis) system. Very expensive and very maintenance heavy. They have POU systems, but where are you going to put them?

    Lead paint is a far worse problem. Especially if you have young children or an infant. Its more than just the room that the child is sleeping in. In the article, they talk about tracking lead dust around the houses and children being exposed that way.

    I'ved never read this anywhere. Another flash from my ADD addled brain. Buy one of the test kits that you can buy to check for lead in paint. If you have a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, test the filter or test where the hose goes into the bag. If you get a positive result, you have lead dust. If its positive in the HEPA filter, its really bad because it is getting through the bag. If you can't get into this Consumer Reports site, do the Google on "Lead Paint Test Kits".


    I used to be a real skeptic. I have a customer/friend who is a past President of the AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics. She is one of the originators of the field of Pediatric Neurology. She was warning me about lead issues since the 1980's. She spent so much time in court as a expert witness in these issues that she went to Law School and became a Lawyer. In addition to being a licensed and practicing physician.

    Babies and lead are a should never come together.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Not all filters are useless

    Pentek makes a carbon cartridge with some kind of lead-adsorbing media inside http://www.pentairaqua.com/pro/en-US/product/filter-and-ro-cartridges/chemical-lead-cyst-reduction-cartridges/cbr2-series/
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Filter Elements:

    I won't dispute what you say. I didn't say that all filters are junk.

    In the case of the filter that you show, 2000 gallons of cold water isn't a lot of water. How much is a filter and how long does it take to exhaust the element?

    I installed a Cuno iron filter once. It cleaned the water to like new. For less than a week. New filters (in 1980) were over $200.00 a piece.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    can get pricey.  2,000 gallons would work OK for drinking water, but then so would RO.

    Softeners work OK for small amounts of iron, especially if fed with the overpriced iron removal salt.  If you're cheap you can just add a cup or three of citric acid powder to the brine tank.  Higher levels generally respond to manganese greensand.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Greensand & Iron:


    Here's a story for you.

    I did the plumbing in a big new house on a well. The iron was so bad that wherever the water from the irrigation system went, it turned the white trim paint orange. Like 1/3 of the way up the flag pole next to the white clamshell orange driveway.

    I installed a 2 Cu. Ft Greensand filter with a meter and I had to add Soda Ash to bring up the PH. After 2500 gallons, the filter would regenerate. The Irrigation Installer was technically challenged. He couldn't understand that he could only put 6 GPM on any zone or the house would again turn orange. I went with the owners to prove that I wasn't full of it and had them count the numbers on the irrigation heads. One zone was 13 GPM when running. I put a 5 GPM flow restrictor on the line under the house to the backflow to fix his behind. You should have heard him squawk. Too bad, he got over it.

    A few years later, the house was sold. An engineer did a home inspection and a septic inspection. He failed the system because when he looked inside the distribution box, the white PVC pipe was all black from the greensand staining. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the system. In fact, the septic tank had very little if any crust inside. It was designed as a 5 bedroom house. Only used for three months out of a year if that and by no more than two adults and a child or two. Because it failed, the whole plumbing system had to be raised in the crawl space because they had to put in an entire new septic system had to raised by 18" to get it farther above the ground water. A local rule that superceeded Massachusetts Title 5 Septic Regs. 5' above but now 10' above. The leach field was 8.5' above the ground water.

    They had to do a "Set Aside" of $22,000 for the replacement and re-piping of the septic system.

    All because the engineer thought that the black staining was a symptom of a failed septic system. Once proclaimed, it could never go back.

    Another aside, I think that the oxygenated backwash water added higher dissolved oxygen levels to the septic tank and helped the aerobic bacteria grow better and feed.

    We'll leave filter backwash into a sewer system to another topic. Other than to say, what else are you going to do with it? Drain it on the lawn?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166
    edited January 2014

    All of a sudden that short length of galvanized pipe I hate in my basement seems like a small thing.


    One thing I can say about our city water is it doesn't taste too bad and our toilet tanks stay spotless. Where I used to live the toilet tank would have a brown film on it after a short time and the water smelled of sulfur.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Guess I've been lucky

    Our well in Reno was ~120' deep and had 4.7 PPM of Iron.  I added a softener because I got tired of cleaning the orange film out of the toilet and bathtub every three days.  Our neighbor's well was located less than 300 feet away from ours, but was 450' deep and had 25 PPM of iron.  Underground water is a mysterious thing, and the more I learn about it the less I know.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Sometimes, it's called "Driller's Intuition". If they were both mud wells, YOUR driller might have noticed a change in mud flow at  120' and stopped, the other driller might not have noticed it and went right by. Sealing the water bearing structure with drill mud, When he got to 450, and he got a formation, it was deeper contaminated water that would always contaminate his well. Well drilling can be as much an art as a science.

    As long as I believed in "dowsing", it never worked. Only when I didn't believe it wouldn't work, did it work. Actually, ship luck.

    It doesn't matter how deep you go in a well, it is how far the water is from the top of the casing or the ground.  What was the elevation above Mean Sea Level where you were? Groundwater on earth is above sea level but not all that much. It depends on the level of salt water below the fresh. Ocean tides/Moon has an effect on it. The ocean fresh water lens will be thicker at the seashore than will be in the Oglalla Aquifer in Kansas. No tidal influence.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,166
    Sea level

    Icesailor, how does that work up in the mountains? I know my parents are just under 2000ft and their well obviously isn't that deep.

    What about people in the Rockies?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Ours was drilled in 1945 and the neighbor's was probably sometime around 1995.  Both were less than 100 ft from a year-round stream, which likely provided some recharge.  Ours was east of a south-north flow, the stream then turned east on our property putting his south of a west-east flow.  We were 4,600 ft ASL with a 12,000 ft mountain range to our west, so the overall surface flow was towards both of us from the Sierra Nevada.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited January 2014
    Water in the Mountains:

    Water is found in different ways.

    Read this for a basic understanding:


    In the mountains, you can have recharge water at higher elevations that are trapped between layers of impervious rock. If you are driving on a highway, and the road runs through a rock face, and it has rained a lot, you might see water running down the rock  face. It is water traveling between layers of impervious rock or soil. It can be at any elevation. It can have rock, clay or any other soil that water can't flow through it. When drilling in rocky places, you look for fractured rock formations that water can flow through. You can drill a 500' hole in fractured rock and have very little flow, but the combined amount of leakage can give you adequate flow from all the fractures. A problem with using drill mud is that you can inadvertently plug up the cracks with mud. You can also use the depth of the well bore hole as water storage. Say that you have fractured rock at 100' down, but the bore hole is 500'. The water will fill the bore hole with 400' of water. Unless the fractured rock has water pressure from higher elevations above. Say that there is a "river" like water flow that is 50' higher that the 100' of the fractured rock that you went through at 100'. The water will rise in the bore hole to 50' above the ground. If you had a well that was 75' down stream from the original 100' formation and you drilled a well. the water would flow out of the top of the pipe. It would be considered a "Artesian Well" where the water flows on its own, but has a head behind it.

    If you drill a hole at 4,000' above Mean Sea Level, and there is an open water formation below at Seal Level, when you get to MSL, and break through the formation above, the water will rise up in the pipe to a level above sea level, that is determined by how much salt water is below the fresh water. On Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Long Island and South Florida, the level to ground water is determined by how much sea water is below the fresh water. Fresh water being lighter, floats on top of the denser salt water.

    Its called the Ghyben-Herzberg principle.


    Most of this stuff can be applied to a plumbing and heating system.
  • stufine
    stufine Member Posts: 13
    Any Update?

    I will guess Chris has a lead line. :( I have one also being fed from a steel main in the street. I got to see what a small water main break looks like. looked like someone was down there beating it with a ball peen hammer.

    Sounds like his water leak is at the curb stop. Someone up the street had the in your face argument with the city when they were told to replace their leaking line at the curb stop. Plumber came out, dug up the yard and area by the stop only to find it was leaking on the city side. Not sure of final outcome but the argument was over about $2600 due to the plumber.

    A buddy of mine dug up part of his driveway because of a leak. Once he got to it, he found that the original installer of the lead line used a couple of bricks to hold the line up off of the ground. Not sure why, there wasn't any connection in the roughly 3' area dug up. The leak was at the brick. I think he used a lead-pak for the repair since the street main was still lead.

    My experience with the city and a apartment building was good. They brought our plumber a pump when his quit. Once the hole was drained they saw it wasn't on our side. The city had to dig the street up and replace the saddle on the main. Seems the city blew the saddle off when they turned the main back on down the street from some other repair. It was part of the city where the big mains come in to feed the city. I was told water hammer blew the saddle off.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Working With You:

    Like I said, the city will usually work with you. They did.

    As far as the bricks under the pipes, it is good practice so as to support the pipes the curb stop or any other place there will be settling. I always put a piece of Pressure Treated wood under the valve and under the pipe before and after the curb stop. I've repaired far too many that broke off because of settling stress.

    If there was a big oval smooth glob of lead where the adapter went into the valve, that is called "A wiped joint" a lost art that some jusisdictions still like to torture plumbers by requiring that you know how to do it and can prove it by doing it, .