Like almost everythingelse we encountered to date in the remodeling project, the main watersupply line at 753 was obsolete and out of compliance with buildingcodes.  There were two primary issues that needed to be addressed:


  • The piping carrying water into the house was lead.  (Up into the early1900’s lead pipes were commonly used for interior plumbing and to connect homes to public water supply lines, as was the case at 753.Lead is now known to be a toxic metal that can cause serious healthissues; particularly in young children.)
  • The water supply line was ½ inch in diameter.  (The low flow provided by apipe of this diameter would not provide adequate water required bybathroom fixtures and kitchen appliances in a double occupancyresidence.)


Therefore,it was necessary to replace the water line from the curb stop (locatedin either a curb box or plastic sleeve) to the house.  The curb stop islocated underground and is the main shut-off point for a propertieswater supply.  Generally, the curb stop is located near the boundary ofyour property and marks the point where the responsibility switchesfrom the city to the homeowner.  (At 753, the piping running from themain city waterline to the curb stop was copper; it was just thesection from the curb stop to the house that was lead.)


After pulling the requisite plumbing and public space permits, our first taskwas to locate the curb box or plastic sleeve.  (For more information onpermitting for a remodeling project, see Permitting: Round 1.)After both the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) and Miss Utilitywere unable to find the box, we had no other choice but tosystematically dig up the front yard.  Upon locating the plastic sleeve(which had been unknowingly covered in a previous landscaping project),the real digging began, since by code, water lines are required to beburied below frost level.


Oncethe old lead line was unearthed and removed, our plumber ran a new 1inch copper supply line from the curb stop to the crawl space under thefront living room.  From here, the hot water heaters, kitchenappliances, bathrooms and showers on both floors are supplied with water.




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