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Water Leak Question

  1. Feb 11, 2015 #1
    I signed up for this forum in hopes of getting some expert input into a problem that I am having. I am not even sure if I am posting this in the right place... Please be kind, I mean no harm.. If I am totally in the wrong place or it is not appropriate to ask this question, please let me know and I will delete the post.

    Three weeks ago, the water department had a six inch water main leak at the foot of my driveway. Two days later, part of my driveway sunk. the section of concree that sunk is about 30 feet from the actual leak. It only sunk a little over an inch where two sections of the concrete meet. The driveway is only 10 months old. When the leak was first discovered in the morning, it had broken up through the street about 60 feet from where the actual leak was. The water dept drilled holes in the street until the found the where the actual leak was (right in front of my driveway)

    One of the guys that came out to clean the street knocked on my door and told me it was not their fault. First, he said that water would not travel that distance. My argument was that the initial point where the water came through the street was further than the distance of my issue. He then told me that there would be soil displaced at my driveway. I have a mulch bed 3 feet from where the drive sunk and my thinking was that the soil could have washed out in my mulch bed. It was pouring the day of the leak. The next argument he gave me was that my drive is on an upward incline from the street and that the water would not push up hill. I kind of get that but the water is under (I think) about 80 psi and it did push up from its 4 foot depth to come up through the street.

    I mean no disrespect by saying this but I was kind of put off that the guy that cleans the street is the guy they sent to tell me that it was not their issue. He even said, "...based on my experience.."

    I pushed the issue and it was referred to American Water's insurance company. I spoke to them today and the guy told me that it is my responsibility to prove that they caused this.

    That's why I am posting here. I am hoping that someone with the knowledge can tell me if I am totally wrong here. If it is not the water main break that caused my problem, its a huge coincidence that the problem materialized two days after the water main break.

    The other thing that I will mention is that the area of my driveway that sunk is aligned with where my water pipe comes from the main into my house. By the way, when I spoke to the concrete guy, he told me that it is very strange that the leak happened right after the water main break and that settlement usually happens prior to 10 months and would probably be in a larger area.

    I can certainly take pictures and post here if that would be helpful. I just wanted to post my situation to see if anyone would be kind enough to provide input.

    Thanks again !!!

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Greetings, Fred.

    Sorry to hear about the hassle. It certainly sounds from your description that the water leak caused your problems, and the city should own up to it. But we are not in a position to help you with this issue, unfortunately. I'd recommend that you contact a local lawyer to see if they can help. Look for a lawyer with the correct background and experience, and he/she should be able to get the city to own up to the problem, I would think. Best of luck. :)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  4. Feb 12, 2015 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    ...You should also seek-out a professional civil engineer.

    Just to expand on what Berkeman said: that is a very serious issue with potentially huge financial and even safety implications (as your instincts have already told you) that can't be adequately dealt with on an internet forum. We don't have the ability, much less the liability insurance, to provide proper advice from here. I do wish you luck though.
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