A Tree Dies In Queens, It Was Murder

Jobsite Reports
January 28, 2011

by David Balkan

Water line replacementWater Line Repairs Done Illegally. When a property owner attempted to perform their own water line repair it resulted in the death of a healthy and flourishing tree. By having no regard for the tree or its network of roots they completely cut, exposed, and undermined the entire root ball of the tree. Not only did this result in the tree having to be cut down, it resulted in a dangerous water main work site condition.

An experienced water main contractor wouldWater Line Work have approached the water line repair in a different manner. Water main repairs can be accomplished by connecting excavations with a tunnel. A contractor experienced with water main work would have dug two separate excavations on either side of the tree, then made a small tunnel connecting the two excavations in order to perform the water line repair.

Water line replacementInstead this dangerous and unprofessional excavation and root damage resulted in this tree being cut down the same day the owner had attempted to make his own water line repairs. The Parks Department carefully regulates excavations around and under trees across NYC. Tree damage such as occurred at this site can result in fines and penalties far in excess of the actual cost of the water line repairs themselves. When a tree of this size is destroyed typical monetary penalties run into the tens of thousands of dollars, not including legal expenses to defend the violations. Sometimes fines and penalties can exceed six figures.

Water Main Repair Job Site

Excavating for water main or sewer work under a tree or the drip line of a tree is not to be taken lightly. Careful coordination is required between the NYC DOT, NYC DEP, and the Parks Department themselves. Frequently an Arborist has to be retained by the excavation contractor to oversee the excavation work. Working together with all concerned professionals a sewer and water main contractor can end the needless damage or destruction of trees, such as was the case during this water line repair. This death could have been avoided.

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David Balkan

David Balkan is the CEO of Balkan Sewer And Water Main, the largest and most trusted service in New York City. David is extremely active in various NYC plumber organizations being the Chairman of the Subsurface Committee in the Master Plumbers Council, and Vice President of the Subsurface Plumbers Association. In addition David’s expertise is respected by officials of New York City agencies such as the NYC DEP, NYC DOB, and the NYC DOT. He frequently provides valuable input on a variety of industry related matters.

Dave Balkan

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