Frequently Asked Questions


Tips from your Minneapolis Exterior Plumbing Experts, What is a stop box?

The stop box houses the valve that is used to turn the water service on or off.  It is usually located in the boulevard area or sometimes in or underneath the city sidewalk.  The City requires the stop box to be operable at all times.  
Who owns the stop box?
The property owner is who owns the stop box and is responsible for its repairs.
How does the stop box operate?
To operate the stop box, a long key is placed inside the housing and lowered onto the valve to turn the water service on or off.  Sometimes, due to age or damage, the stop box does not operate, requiring repair.
Why is the stop box operated on?
To terminate service due to the sale of the home.  
The water is needed to be shut off to complete inside plumbing repairs or remodels.
At a rental property, to discontinue water service when the tenant is moving.
Failure to pay water utility bill. 

Why is water coming up my floor drain?

Your main sewer line could be broke or plugged. The first thing you should do is have it sewer cleaned. If the main line cannot be unplugged the next thing to do is have the sewer line video inspected. 

Why do I have low water pressure?

You might have lead or galvanized water lines. A new copper water line will increase the volume into the home. If you have outdated pipes in your home the restriction of flow could be effected. There is a possibility that a break has occurred under ground and has not surfaced. Usually you can hear a hissing noise by the meter when a break has occurred on your line. 

Why do I have holes in my yard?

Holes in the yard are a very good indication that there are sewer rats exiting and entering you sewer line.  The next thing to do is have your sewer line video inspected.  

Where are the most common spots that a sewer line will break?

Foundation: House might be settling and causing the ground to shift.
Abandoned Septic Area in the Yard: Some houses had septic tanks that were located in the front yard and the septic tanks were removed and filled in with dirt.  The dirt has probably settled over time which caused the ground to shift.
Curb Area: Contractors may have tied onto an old sewer service line to reconnect a new line.
City Main: Connection where the service line ties onto the City's Sewer Main usually in the street. 

What if a tractor backhoe cannot get into my yard to repair broken pipe?

Hand digging is an option or
Directional Boring/Directional Drilling: Is a minimal impact trenchless method of installing underground pipe, conduit or cables in a relatively shallow arc or radius along a prescribed underground bore path by using a surfaced-launched drilling rig.
Pipe Bursting:  Is a trenchless method of replacing buried pipelines without the need for a traditional construction trench.

CIPP Lining or a push patch is a trenchless sewer repair option.


Minneapolis, MN January 2020

This sewer repair required an excavating contractor and affected not one but two residences.  Their service lines joined together above where it connects to the City's Sewer Main.  The joint wye connection was broken and needed to be replaced.  The new sewer pipe had to be plumbed in to maintain flow to the City's main.