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Question DetailsAsked on 2/11/2017

We were quoted $6800 to replace a broken water line from the street to our 32 yr old home. Is that too much?

House was built in 1985. Plumber said it is 66 feet from street to house for replacement. Sprung a leak about 3 months ago.

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1 Answer


Sounds on the high side to me by 2-4 fold from the "norm" - for shallow pipes without special access issues something around $20-30/LF is more common, and for say 6 foot deep pipes (deepest in most of the country) around $50/LF is commonly the high end - so that would be about $1500-3300 range with normal access and not very cold (northern tier area of northern border states, high elevation cold areas, and Alaska/much of Canada) area frost depth. The labor and to lesser extent backhoe is the expensive part - the pipe is only a few $/LF for plastic, or around $5/LF (Retail cost) for copper, plus soem miscellaneous materials totalling maybe $100 max usually.

But price depends on local labor costs, permit costs, how accessible it is and whether there are drives or sidewalks or trees or big tree roots in the way, other utility interferences, burial depth (usually 2-3 feet minimum, but must be below maximum frost penetration depth so can be up to 10-12 feet max in some areas, and a major cost factor in some soils is whether you are digging a new trench or following the already easy- digging old trench - and if a new routing, then what the digging conditions are.

If a new public water connection is needed (because it corroded out) some water utilities do that part for free (up to the curb box - their shutoff valve), but other charge for that and the line to their water main, which in some areas can run a couple to several thousands of $ - especially and sometimes more if it means traffic control and digging in a busy street. Or sometimes the water department will replace the service connection free if needed, but the streets department mandates they have 4-6 union guys standing around controlling traffic. I have seen that, especially back east, where they required 5 traffic control people (2 standing around with the STOP/GO signs, 2 smoking and drinking coffee, and one supervisor) - even once at the blind end of a cul-de-sac with only 5 houses on it - at $400/hour billing rate for the "traffic control crew".

Obviously, the easiest way to determine if this price is "in the market range" in your case is get a couple of more bids.

Here are links to a bunch of similar previous questions with some ballpark number FYI -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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