Water main curb stop is leaking - can I repair myself


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Old 05-16-16, 06:02 PM
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Water main curb stop is leaking - can I repair myself

Had the city come today and they confirmed that our curb stop is leaking street side and it's our responsibility. Is this a repair that I can do myself? I did a bit of research online and found a took called the Pollardwater Aqua Curb Stop Tool. Comes in either 1" or 3/4". Located next to our driveway, in grass, about 5.5' from surface. Claims the process can be completed in 6 steps with just a small hole instead of digging up the whole street. Thanks for any advice you can give.
 
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Old 05-16-16, 06:49 PM
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Found this don't know if this helps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MT-IFCp4oE
 
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Old 05-16-16, 08:12 PM
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Love that video Don.

Not too sure about that Pollard Tool. You'll still need to dig a good sized hole. You can't work 5-1/2' underground in a small hole...... you'll need a hole where you can get into work.

You shouldn't have to touch the street.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:08 AM
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In general I would say that is not a DIY project for most people. Mainly because of the digging involved. Most people have never lifted a shovel in the past 10 years and soon give up when the sweat starts flowing. You also have to remember that the hole has to be large enough for a person to get down in there and work. A 5' x 5' hole 5 1/2" feet deep requires moving about 138 cubic feet of earth. Figuring about 115 pounds per foot that's 15'870 pounds of dirt. Almost 7 1/2 tons!

Then there is the safety concern. The person down in the hole will be several feet underground when their head is down and working. If the walls of the hole collapse becoming buried alive and suffocating is a real hazard. With an excavator it's easy to dig a hole with sloping or stepped sides but when hand digging the extra soil to move makes it unpractical so you trade safety for less digging.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 08:35 AM
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The first estimate came in at $4000. This is the reason that I would like to complete this project myself but I am beginning to agree that this might not be possible.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 09:04 AM
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It is possible. But go into it knowing that it won't be quick and easy if doing it by hand.

I would get estimates from several people to see if the $4'000 bid was out of line. You can also hire someone with an excavator to do the digging for you. If you have all your tools & materials ready they could dig the hole. You change the valve and they back fill. The job could be done before lunch and even if the excavator costs you $500 you'd still be ahead. One catch could be if this work needs to be inspected. That could put a delay before you're permitted to back fill.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 10:27 AM
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I would definitely get another quote or two. Some plumbers just don't like the idea of having to dig and coordinate an excavator and will increase their price because of it. When I had a sewer line repair done, estimates ranged from $4K to almost $12K. Quite a huge range.

I personally wouldn't consider this a DIY project because of having to work with the main. If you run into problems getting the new stop on, or with whatever tools you're using to stop the water, you're pretty stuck with a LOT of water coming in.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:29 PM
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Agree with the others, not a DIY and even the pros might need special certs.

I just wanted to comment on the tool. It is designed to change the valve semi-easily when you have access to the valve from the house side. Not full access or even access to touch it or see it, but at least within a reasonable range of the house wall. Nobody's that lucky
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:42 PM
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One catch could be if this work needs to be inspected. That could put a delay before you're permitted to back fill.
I agree with that 100%. I helped a friend replace a valve and water line.
It did require an inspection from a guy with the water department before back filling.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 07:44 PM
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I do not understand why this would be your responsibility. Since it is before the meter you are not paying for the water leaking, I say just let it leak.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 08:41 PM
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I do not understand why this would be your responsibility. Since it is before the meter you are not paying for the water leaking, I say just let it leak.
Exactly what I was thinking. Water Companies have always been responsible for lines up to the meter, after the meter your on your own.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 11:03 PM
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I do not understand why this would be your responsibility.
Me three. In our little town the residences don't have meters, everyone pays the same. Here the city owns up to and including the shut off valve. If they catch you with one of them tools to shut the water off you will get an ass-chewing..."that's our valve."
 
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Old 05-18-16, 12:49 AM
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Different areas have different rules. Everywhere I have lived in the greater Puget Sound area (Seattle, Mountlake Terrace and now Bothell) has had the water meter set at or very near the property line. The piping from the water meter to the house is always the responsibility of the homeowner and the valve just prior to the meter is the property of the water utility. I'll add that since we have a fairly mild climate the water meters and shut-off valves are rarely more than six to ten inches below grade.

In many other areas the water meters are installed inside the house, often in the basement. In these installations a curb stop is common and usually, but obvious from this thread not always, belongs to the utility while the piping from the curb stop to the meter is the responsibility of the builder and subsequent homeowner. I have read of water utilities that require the builder/homeowner to also purchase and maintain (i.e. replace it if the utility says it is bad) the meter although I suspect this is rare.

Baldwin, the "county seat" (Everett) just north of me once had that arrangement within the older parts of the city. Everett was once the home of several paper mills and it was the mills that paid for the water distribution system and so when the city took over that function they had many residences that were billed a flat rate. The US Environmental Protection Agency ruled several years ago that ALL municipal and most private water distribution systems must install meters. I don't know what kind of timetable they gave but I do know that it changed the habits of many, many homeowners. I know a man that had had a drinking fountain in front of his house (one for animals as well) that ran 24/7. After they started to meter (and bill) the water that fountain was removed very quickly.

Allboys, I would look for a plumber that has a pipe freezing kit to replace that valve.
 
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Old 05-19-16, 06:34 AM
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Great advice. Thanks to all that responded. Unfortunately we are responsible and this is pretty common in MN based on my research. We have decided to do this ourselves, renting a backhoe and freeze kit and plenty of help. If we can't rent the freeze kit we will buy one and then resell when the project is done. Stupid to put this right next to our driveway where we run over it frequently over the years.
 
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Old 05-19-16, 07:40 AM
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Make sure you specifically get a dip tube type CO2 tank intended to deliver liquid. The majority of tanks are plumbed to deliver in gas form.

Then there is always the dry ice method. Get a cooler of dry ice chunks and use string or shoe laces to tie blocks around the pipe. Make sure to replace the blocks when they melt. I like using welding gloves as you can handle the dry ice for a long time without the cold soaking through. Unfortunately dry is is no longer available in my town.
 
 

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