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  1. #11
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Totes Claim? Is that something you make to get stylish rain gear?
    Maybe OP can get a free umbrella.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Hence, my statement that the OP return and ask about particulars of suing.
    Then I guess you think the city worker may have been negligent and OP could prove that in order to sue? And of course you considered the tort claim act. I doubt it.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Then you can present the bill to the city for reimbursement. .
    Present the city the bill says it all.

  2. #12
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    Oct 2016
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    3,292

    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Then I guess you think the city worker may have been negligent and OP could prove that in order to sue? And of course you considered the tort claim act. I doubt it.
    I don't think it should be too hard to show neglegnce. And while I didn't look up the state's specific law it is not unusual at all for there to be such a law but going into it at this point would be getting ahead of one's self.

    Present the city the bill says it all.
    Yep, that is the first step.

  3. #13
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    Nov 2015
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    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    A few quick points: was this a city worker or a contractor? This may affect liability.

    Lead pipes were galvanized as well. They weren't bare lead. How sure are you that you don't have lead pipes?

    Where is the line of demarcation between your underground waterline and the cities? This will absolutely affect whose responsible, especially if the condition of your existing line was questionable to begin with. Many utilities consider the point of demarcation, with inside metering, to be at the tap to the main.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  4. #14
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Yep, that is the first step.
    You're missing the point. You don't just hand the city a bill and ask for reimbursement. Either the city fixes the problem at their expense using their workers or contractors or the property owner has to file a claim.

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    Many utilities consider the point of demarcation, with inside metering, to be at the tap to the main.
    Or at the curb box shutoff which is most often in the utility easement associated with the road (likely on the owner's property).

  5. #15

    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    You don't just get to sue the city. You first have 120 days (in WI) to file a notice of claim under their Totes Claim Act. (893.80) and you would have to be able to prove that the city worker was negligent in his care and duty that was the cause of the broken pipe in contrast to the pipe being in such bad condition that it broke when he went to change the meter. Would the city's insurer pay such a claim? There is no way to tell but given how many meters the city replaces without breaking a pipe, I doubt it but it can't hurt to file the claim.

    So I suggest that OP get ready to hand over the $2.600.00 and get the pipe fixed and have his water turned back on. Then hope for the best. If he can't work it out with the city (perhaps that grant for lead pipe replacement is an olive branch) the pipe is on private property and absence negligence he is responsible for the repair.

    OP should be contacting his homeowner's insurance company. It may be covered. 
    Ok, the work is now done. The whole process took 5.5 hours. He lowered his quote to $2,450 after taking a closer look at it, and then other problems arose along the way, raising it to $2,575. Initially, they replaced the line under the ground (which was apparently galvanized with some components of it being lead, which qualifies it as being a lead pipe) with a plastic one. Then when they were done fitting the plastic part to the new meter in the basement and then connecting that with copper piping to my galvanized pipe in the basement, another leak occurred causing them to replace more of my piping. Then the kitchen sink clogged with sediment, so they had to work on that to get it operating.

    As for what you said about negligence, I don't believe the city worker was negligent in the way he installed the new meter. From what I'm being told, galvanized piping corrodes and can break easily. The reason I thought the city should be paying for fixing it is because it was their mandate that I let them come into my home to change what is their meter. It wasn't my idea. I would have been happy just leaving it alone. But since they wanted to do it, they did it and it resulted in breaking one of my pipes that is now costing me a fortune. That's the reason I thought they should pay for it--because it was their actions that caused the pipe to break that wouldn't have broken otherwise.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    If it broke because it was already corroded and weak then it's not negligence. As to their meter, if you don't comply with their metering upgrades they can terminate service to your home.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  7. #17

    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    If it broke because it was already corroded and weak then it's not negligence. As to their meter, if you don't comply with their metering upgrades they can terminate service to your home.
    Yeah, and that's the thing I never asked about, but the question was always on the back of my mind. I ignored their first notice, and then got a second one several months later. I always wondered what they would do if I never scheduled an appointment to have it done. It reminds me of when the postal service put out notices saying they wanted people to have street side mail boxes installed by a certain date. Then a mailman told me that it wasn't mandatory. Me and several other houses on my street have boxes on the house instead of by the street. Mail service has continued.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Utilities aren't shy about cutting service. They can and will do so.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  9. #19
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting Novicelegal
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    Ok, the work is now done. The whole process took 5.5 hours. He lowered his quote to $2,450 after taking a closer look at it, and then other problems arose along the way, raising it to $2,575. Initially, they replaced the line under the ground (which was apparently galvanized with some components of it being lead, which qualifies it as being a lead pipe) with a plastic one. Then when they were done fitting the plastic part to the new meter in the basement and then connecting that with copper piping to my galvanized pipe in the basement, another leak occurred causing them to replace more of my piping. Then the kitchen sink clogged with sediment, so they had to work on that to get it operating.

    As for what you said about negligence, I don't believe the city worker was negligent in the way he installed the new meter. From what I'm being told, galvanized piping corrodes and can break easily. The reason I thought the city should be paying for fixing it is because it was their mandate that I let them come into my home to change what is their meter. It wasn't my idea. I would have been happy just leaving it alone. But since they wanted to do it, they did it and it resulted in breaking one of my pipes that is now costing me a fortune. That's the reason I thought they should pay for it--because it was their actions that caused the pipe to break that wouldn't have broken otherwise.
    So now you apply for the $2,000 grant to have lead pipe replaced and if successful, the job will only cost you $575.00.

    You should expect more problems in the future because your house is plumbed with galvanized pipe. There are two factors that make that almost certain. One is the age of the pipe and galvanized (as well as brass) pipe will continue to corrode from the inside out until little pinholes appear and start to drip very small amounts of water forming a white powder (efflorescence) on the pipe. Those pinholes and efflorescence at the pipe joints only gets worse with time.

    The second factor is the connection of dissimilar metals like galvanized iron/steel and copper pipes in one system. Galvanic corrosion takes place over time. You can Google the term to understand what it is. The bottom line is that it accelerates the corrosion of the less noble metal, your galvanized pipe.

    This is a slow process and I wouldn't worry much about it now. Just be aware of it.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Water Line on My Property Broken by City Worker. Who's Liable

    Quote Quoting budwad
    View Post
    So now you apply for the $2,000 grant to have lead pipe replaced and if successful, the job will only cost you $575.00.

    You should expect more problems in the future because your house is plumbed with galvanized pipe. There are two factors that make that almost certain. One is the age of the pipe and galvanized (as well as brass) pipe will continue to corrode from the inside out until little pinholes appear and start to drip very small amounts of water forming a white powder (efflorescence) on the pipe. Those pinholes and efflorescence at the pipe joints only gets worse with time.

    The second factor is the connection of dissimilar metals like galvanized iron/steel and copper pipes in one system. Galvanic corrosion takes place over time. You can Google the term to understand what it is. The bottom line is that it accelerates the corrosion of the less noble metal, your galvanized pipe.

    This is a slow process and I wouldn't worry much about it now. Just be aware of it.
    I will. And I've been trying to move for the past couple years to get away from problems like this. The house was built in 1886 and I've been there for 20 years now. It seems like I'm only asking for more problems the longer I stay there. Having all my plumbing redone because of this would no doubt cost thousands more, with some of it being located under the house in the crawlspace.

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