How to winterize water meter in open pit and street-side pipes

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Geoffre14, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Geoffre14

    Geoffre14 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    New York
    I am located in NY and have a "seasonal" city water account. (The house is on well water; the city water is for irrigation/swimming pool only.)

    The city turned off my water supply at a publicly-inaccessible valve at the street. After the valve, the water pipe--which is below frost depth--travels a distance of 10' into my front yard, then into the water meter which is located in an open pit and exposed to ambient temperatures. After the meter, there is a few more short lengths of elbows before there was a union that I could separate. Everything on my side of the union, including yard irrigation lines etc., has been blown empty.

    I am worried about the 10' length of pipe and the meter which still has water in it. How am I supposed to winterize this length?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    How deep is the open pit? How about filling the pit with insulation -- perhaps durable plastic bags filled with syrofoam beads or other suitable insulation?
     
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  4. Geoffre14

    Geoffre14 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks for the input, but I'd be skeptical if insulation will be able to stop freezing. It could maybe slow it but I don't think it would be effective in the event of 48hours or more of below freezing temps.

    The bottom of the pit is maybe 3' or 4' down, but top of the meter is maybe 18" below grade (and open to ambient air, of course).
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You would probably need to mound the insulation. Maybe you could cover that with a big fake rock. The ground and pipe buried in the ground serve as a heat source. So you need to slow the heat loss from the top enough to let the heat from below keep the pipes from freezing.
     
  6. craigpump

    craigpump In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Occupation:
    Self employed water system tech
    Location:
    Connecticut
    How was it winterized last year?
    How big is the pit?
    Is the top surface flat & level?

    Buried well pits are similar and have been around for too long, so if you can put a concrete lid over the pit and seal the gaps, it won't freeze.
     
    johnjh2o1 likes this.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That is a typical "meter vault" and the ground temperature keeps the meter from freezing.
     
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