water main grid and shut-off valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by michaedt, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    I'm trying to shut off my water from the street. I borrowed a city shut-off key from a friend (his dad used to be a city contractor). Unfortunately, however, I'm not sure which hub shuts off my water.
    The only water pipes near the curb are located every third house. The one closest to me is in front of my neighbors house (on the farthest corner away from my house). Is it normal to have one shut-off for several houses? I haven't removed the cap yet, so there may be several shut-offs in one pipe (but I doubt there is room). I'd shut my water off closer to my house (at the meter), but I'm not sure where it is (I have a remote reader attached to the outside of the house). The house was built in the 1930's.
    Please advise!
  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    curb cock

    I've gotta believe that yours is covered up with dirt or under the sidewalk.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,237
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    Occasionally some cities will connect two meters to the same pipe, but if so, then they are always right next to each other, and usually have individual shutoffs.
  4. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    curb cock

    I'll take another look to see if there is more than one pipe.
    Have you ever had a problem when closing the curb cock? The water has probably not been shut off for at least 15 years.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There's gotta be one somewhere. As far a difficult to turn off, yes, they are usually very stiff turning. That's why the key has long handle bars. After I had my interior main valve break off and flood my basement while I waited for the city to arrive (night and a week-end), I had a welder friend make a key for me. At least in my city they don't want individuals to have them, but I've found it very handy to have 3 or 4 times since although a disaster like the broken valve.
  6. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    found it

    You were all correct!
    I found the shut off. It was burried out by the street. I just went out with a long screwdriver and started poking around. Five minutes later I heard a thunk....gold!...well, not gold, but the cap to the water shut-off.
    I couldn't budge the lid. I will have the turn-key tomorrow, but I'm not sure how to get the lid off without bending all my screwdrivers.
    Thanks for your help everyone!
  7. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    MN/ND
    I hold plumbing licenses in two cities where it is a misdemeanor for me to have in my possesion a curb key, or to operate a curb key.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I don't know if it's actually illegal for a citizen to have a shut off key, but since I don't use it except to turn my own water supply off when I have work to that requires it, I'm not to worried about it. I think it must be a royal PITA for you to have to call the city to shut off a water supply line that you have to work on., but as a business person, you are more likely to have a problem than me.
  9. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    It's funny someone mentioned that it is "unlawful" to have or use a curb key.I have heard the same thing about the great state of Va. I try to ALWAYS shut house water off at the street because i just find it easier then crawling through people's crap to get to a main cut off that will be IMPOSSABLE to replace if it gets wrung off etc,etc .

    Anyway,,,,many times over the years i can swear i've been seen by water authority personel shuting off meters and NEVER ONCE has anyone said a word !

    Must not be a felony . Besides,what are we expected to do in the case of emergencys ? " Uh, sorry 90 year old lady, I have the ability to stop that water from pouring onto your family airlooms,but it would be i could go to jail".

    I don't think so . Lock me up .

    Cal
  10. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    MN/ND
    Do it your own way, hero.



    http://www.stpaul.gov/code/lc092.html#sec92.13.
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    That law is not valid. The city in question can't tell you you can't own a curb key. The law should have read that you could not possess one while inside the city limits and even that could be challenged and beaten.

    Now being caught using one is another story. The reason most don't want you using a key is that they charge to turn on and off and would be loosing $$$$ they also own the equipment and if it breaks they want it to be their guys that break it.
  12. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    street keys

    Where I come from we had two kinds of street keys. Sure makes life easier.
    Our city would loan us one if needed. They would rather we used the key if we were working at a residence. They didn't have to get someone from the dpw and we didn't have to Wait for someone to come. Just a difference in cities.
  13. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    MN/ND
    Cass, that law is valid because I am licensed by that city, and their licensing of plumbers trumps the state of Minnesota, as they had a plumbing code/licensing prior to 1933, when the state stepped up.

    It does not speak to the revocation of my state license, just my 'Certificate of Competency' with that city. It doesn't mean I can't own a curb key or operate it elsewhere, just not within the confines of Saint Paul.
  14. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Fellas, there's no point arguing over this. It's a dumb ordinance, but we're not going to change it by arguing here. I could possible understand an ordinance that prohibited a private citizen for having a key, but it seems to me that there should be an element of trust between the city and licensed plumbers over the use of one. It appears to be one of the well intended but ill conceived rules made by bureaucrats. If I was a private citizen in St Paul, I'd own one for my own use. If I were a licensed plumber in St Paul, I probably wouldn't risk my license.
  15. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Some of you are full of it .

    If the situation was as i described ( 90 year old,water everywhere ) you'd use a curb key if needed .

    We all would . Some of these rules/laws are B.S.....

    Cal
  16. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You are right!!!!! Many areas I work in you are supposed to call for turn on and off. Most times I just do it my self. I have never been caulght. So I guess I should charge $1-200.00 to wait for the guy to come and turn on the water so I can test the lines I just worked on.

    Over the years there have been instances that I have called and I have waited up to 3 hrs. for them to come. Normal is 45-60 min. and if you try and time it and your not ready they leave.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2006
  17. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    curb key

    Just for giggles, I looked for curb keys at Lowes in St. Louis. They were stacked in a barrel like lollipops. Since this is probably not the place where plumbers pick up their supplies (correct me if I'm wrong), I suspect that its OK for individuals to shut off their own water. Or, perhaps everyone ignores the ordinance.
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