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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Hooking up to city water

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Bob - MI

11-25-2011 07:43:34

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My daughter's well point is badly clogged and the well driller suggested that before we proceed with point replacement or drilling a new well that we check for nitrates. Sure enough the test came back right at the high limit and the option now is to hook up to city water.

The tap fee and equipment charge from the city is just under $7,000. I need a plumber to run the line into the basement from the tap (about 40 feet). Do you guys have any tips to watch for when hiring a plumber for this type of thing?

I am fronting the money on this and do not want to get ripped off.

Thanks in advance


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11-26-2011 14:28:35

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
Another point that hasn't been mentioned yet. If you do decide to hook up to the city, how much are rates going to increase? As an example: Headlines on our local newspaper,, City may raise water rates 15.5% each year until 2015. We're already paying more than any neighboring towns and now this great news. Minimum monthly charge for sewer and water is $65.00. Now it's going up 15% yearly for the 4 years. Could this happen in your area? We never thought it would happen here, but it is.
So you might consider other options before you sock a bunch of money into a city hookup if there's a posability it's going to cost you even more in the future.

Something more to consider.

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11-26-2011 02:00:39

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
I hooked up to city water and sewer three years ago in Minnesota. I had to pay a five thousand dollar hook up fee. But part of that fee was for sewer. The water line had to be down seven feet and it had to be copper. I have over one thousand feet of road frontage and had to pay for the installation in the street, blacktop, plus a one thousand dollar stub fee to my property so the street would not have to be opened up when hooking up to city utilities. You might be getting a deal if the seven thousand goes to the city. We all know that the city holds a monopoly on such services and makes no bones about robbing it's citizens.

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11-25-2011 20:30:29

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
Only if money is the issue, get homeowners permit if available. Run all the piping, get township to hookup. Everything gets inspected, city gets dough, you save but work like a dog. Dave. Ididit. Dearborn, Mich. While back.

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11-25-2011 18:14:58

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
It seems a lot of folks are missing the point that the $7K tap fee just gets you the privilege to connect to the water line, plus a water meter and shutoff. The cost of actually connecting the tap to your daughter's house isn't included.

If it was me, I'd probably see if I can do the work myself, but I'm a cheapskate. You would have to rent a trencher, but there would be a lot of hand-digging to be done where the water line enters the house. Have you done any digging around this place? If it's typical Michigan clay, you'll probably want to let someone else do the digging. The water line needs to be at least 42 inches deep; the deeper the better.

While putting in the water line, this might be a great time to add a yard hydrant or two. If you're going to be tearing up the yard, you might as well get all your trenching done. Ditto if any outbuildings need electrical service.

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Bob S.

11-25-2011 17:49:31

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
Good question Bob, I have been wondering about that myself. They widened the road out front a couple years ago and put in sewer and water lines.
Someone told me that if I was to hook up to the city I would have to pay by the foot for the mains that they installed, I have over 200ft of frontage and that might get expensive along with hooking up to mains and bringing lines into basement.
Sorry to butt in on your post but if what I was told is true maybe that would explain some of the high cost.

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Justin SE IOWA

11-25-2011 16:35:51

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
I do this for a living. 1" PEP pipe is about $0.40 cents a foot. I would charge about $200 bucks to dig the trench, run the line and backfill. The tap fee is about $280 bucks and that includes the saddle that goes around the water main and the corp witch is the valve that threads into the saddle. Water mains are always drilled "live". You are getting ripped off majorly.

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11-25-2011 11:16:45

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
Rural water company here is charging about $2900 now. That includes a membership fee and installation of 100 ft. from main line into the house and installation of the meter. Plumber hooks up from there. They have their own crew that comes out and does it. Small town I build in once in awhile has the water line stubbed past the curb and I have the guy that does the excavating dig it and the sewer line in. Runs around $800 the last time I had it done. The city has a hookup fee of $1000 that is accessed to each lot and paid for by the developer and added onto the lot price.

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bill in in

11-25-2011 11:13:08

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
Around here they get you for only about $300 to hook onto the water if you can get to it, but then the sewer fees (whether you hook to it or not) is about three to four times what the water bill is....

I don't have "city" water available here but I wouldn't touch it if I did.

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11-25-2011 10:43:48

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
OMG! 7000?? you are already getting ripped off there, but, thats the thing about water you got to have it. I thought it was terrible that it was 750 here for a meter and tap.

We dont have much choice, its either city water or cistern water in this geology. If you are stuck under those kinds of codes you can bet you are getting taken, just a question of how bad and how much control you have locally. Here at least you can connect your own without having a plumber...

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11-25-2011 08:46:47

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
How much is the 'tap' fee? That figure should be supplied by the water company and may be a big chunk of the $7000.
I lived in Denver many years ago and the fee then was $500 but the price was going up and I don't have any idea what it might be today. It could be multi-thousands by now and all that provided was a curb-cock at the street. From there it all belonged to the property owner including permitting, adhereing to all the city codes and inspections.

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Billy NY

11-25-2011 08:23:43

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
I would be hard pressed to get all options to do this lateral connection to the water main.

You have to find out what the city code is, in regards to acceptable materials, copper tubing, or alternate, backflow preventer, gate valve- with sleeve(shut off to house and meter. We have some city water mains in this town, though most are on wells, they provide the meter, there is a cost, but for the most part you can stub out of your house, install the pipe, valve, leave the stub near the main and have them do the tap, $7000 is ridiculous, I think absolutely ridiculous in my humble opinion, as I have done quite a few of them over the years. Sounds like the city has a monopoly on doing connections, I have a good friend in the water dept in the adjacent city, he does taps all the time, after hours, stubs out to the main, extra cash, fair and reasonable.

Liability to consider is the one call/call before you dig, to locate existing underground utilities, you don't want to damage any of those, so in one respect, that lump sum cost could be cheap compared to being responsible for damage to existing utilities. That said, I've excavated around same, using care, never had any problems, but always realize it can happen, excavation insurance is very expensive, but if you know that trench can be dug with care, its worth doing on your own.

You need to price the materials, see what it will cost to excavate, install pipe, valve with sleeve, meter, backflow preventer, connections, hard to see it adding up to $7000, I would suspect there has to be some room to shave that number, but without doing the actual estimate, don't quote me, even if the materials were 3000, and 2000 in labor, theres still money left on the table, just seems high to me. I believe around here the city provides the meter, you do the plumbing work, they inspect the lateral to the main, accepts same, then you can backfill and restore the area.

If the city charges what you state and you have to pay a plumber or contractor to do the rest, could be upwards of $10,000, be nice to get the plumber in at $1500, no more than a day to do the job. I can't believe you have to go through the city water dept, to get this done, around here they will expose the main and your stub out(lateral) needs to be close to the main, city does not stub to the foundation, as its off city property.

I've done miles and miles of water main, laterals and connections, very familiar with the work, do some research if you can and have time to do so, hopefully you can figure out the most cost effective option here.

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Bob - MI

11-25-2011 09:00:17

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Billy NY, 11-25-2011 08:23:43  
Yes, insane amount of money in my opinion. The fee is $6875.00 and then there's a $900.00 equipment fee as well. What do low income folks do with a situation like this?

The fact is that these people do not care. I had the pleasure of going to the board of review to get her taxes lowered to reflect what she paid for the house. The old cronies on the board refused to accept the appraisal from FHA and the sales agreement that said it sold for $68K.

Government not for the people.

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Stephen Newell

11-25-2011 08:04:54

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
From your nearest city, I would go to the building permit department and see if they have literature on specifications on doing this. That way you can see if the plumber isn"t taking any shortcuts that might cause problems later. If he"s running the trench too shallow you can call him on it before the job is done. Other than that the only thing you could do is get references and get two or three estimates.

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11-25-2011 07:54:12

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 07:43:34  
7K- Wow. How about a drinking water reverse osmosis unit? Water softener and RO unit is about half the 7K. Can the well point be back flushed to save the well?

Does the plumber make the tap or the city? Copper or plastic? Watch your electric ground if you use plastic and disconnect from the well. You could end up with a neutral failure. BTDT.

If the plumber makes the hot tap, he would need to be licensed around here. Do you need to trench or tunnel through the road?

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Bob - MI

11-25-2011 08:07:04

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Ernied, 11-25-2011 07:54:12  
I don't have the complete story yet. I have to take a drawing of the lot with the house and septic system shown on it to the township office. They then will deternine where the tap will go. It is my "assumption" (bad I know) that they are doing the tap and will place a stub for the plumber to use from there.

The well guy said that the plumbers can shoot a line in the short distance and we can then avoid trenching. The township however wants a $50.00 trench inspection fee so I guess I am uncertain at this point.

Yes, $7K is a whole lot of money. She paid $68K for the house 2 years ago and with the improvements that she has done I think she's at the point where she will just break even when she sells.

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El Toro

11-25-2011 17:00:19

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 08:07:04  
I would get 3 estimates from licensed plumbers
to see what they will charge. My wife's sister had her whole house replumbed with pex in Florida. Since her home owner's association was paying the bill due to the original piping failing, she had to get 3 estimates. The highest estimate was $7000.00 and they went with that plumber. My nephew had his water line replaced due to copper pipe leaking last year and he paid $1000.00 to have it dug up and new piping installed. One man did the job digging and installing new piping. Hal

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Billy Shafer

11-25-2011 08:42:46

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 Re: Hooking up to city water in reply to Bob - MI, 11-25-2011 08:07:04  
Get the city or county codes. Then ask around for the best plumber. May cost more,but it would be better to do it correct the first time

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