Town Talk: Water service questions

The water pipe that carries water from the watermain in the street is called a Water Service. These lines are either made of copper, galvanized steel, Pex plastic, and in a few cases lead. Your water service pipe is connected to the watermain through a valve that is attached directly to the main and is buried in the street. This valve can only be operated when the watermain is excavated.

The service line then extends towards your home and connects to a curb stop in the boulevard. The curb stop has a riser pipe that extends to the surface of the ground and has a cap on it. This pipe connects to another valve in the service line that is called the curb stop valve. A special long stem wrench is needed to operate this valve. The service line continues from this curb stop valve into your home and terminates with a lockable shut off valve that connects to the water meter.

Who owns this service line? The portion from the water meter out to the curb stop valve is owned by the homeowner. If there is a leak in this pipe length the homeowner is responsible for having the line repaired or replaced, according to the New Ulm Public Utilities Regulations. The pipe between the curb stop and the water main is owned by the Public Utilities Water Department which is responsible to repair or replace this portion of pipe.

Who owns the curb stop? The homeowner owns this valve structure and is responsible to repair or replace this valve if it will not function. The homeowner also is responsible to maintain the curb stop structure so that the curb stop is accessible. The homeowner must ensure that the cap on the curb stop structure is not buried under more than 3 inches of dirt, under a tree, a sidewalk or driveway.

Who pays for the repairs? The service pipe from the water main in the street to the curb stop in the boulevard is owned by the New Ulm Public Utilities Water Department, if repair on this pipe is necessary the Water Department pays for the repairs including the excavation and paving in the street. If there is repair on the line from the curb stop into the house, the homeowner pays for the work including the excavation to the house. The homeowner is responsible for repairs to the landscaping, sidewalk or driveway impacted by any repair.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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