If you're the worrying sort, this week's failure of a large water service line in the Old St. Anthony area of the Minneapolis riverfront may have given you fresh cause for worry.
How's a Minneapolis homeowner supposed to know if the water service line that runs from the water main in the street to the water meter in your residence is up to snuff?
There's no sure way of knowing without an expensive excavation. But there's one way to find out if the property you're in is operating with the originally installed line or was modernized more recently. That's a call to 612-673-2451, where the city keeps permit records on work done on water service lines.
This homeowner found that his service line was replaced ny a previous owner in 1958 with a three-quarter-inch copper pipe from the house to the shutoff valve on the boulevard. That means that only the shorter portion running from the shufoff to the main is original piping from around 1908, most likely lead piping, given construction practices at the time.
Why should you care? Any pipe replacement other than a failure of the city-owned main is on the property owner's dime. The cost typically ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, since the ciuty requires that a plumber replace lead pipes with copper.
On the plus side, failure of your small line isn't likely to spew anywhere near the estimated 90,000-gallon loss recorded in the St. Anthony Main area, where water lines are some of the oldest in the city.
(Photo: Water flooded the Aster Cafe along SE Main St. after a private line from the water main to the building broke.) .