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New York City workers were sent 55 stories underground to repair a plumbing issue that's best described as "monumental."

Massive Plumbing Leak in New York City Sends Plumbers 55 Stories Underground

New York City workers were sent 55 stories underground to repair a plumbing issue that's best described as "monumental."

Massive Plumbing Leak in New York City Sends Plumbers 55 Stories Underground

New York City workers were sent 55 stories underground to repair a plumbing issue that's best described as "monumental." Workers were sent underground, under the Hudson River, in an effort to repair a massive leak that's plaguing the city's waterlines. The workers are working on a tunnel that is responsible for carrying half of the city's water supply from the Catskill Mountain.

The aging system's leaks require workers to push equipment through the aging pipes manually, with the goal of carving out a 2.5-mile bypass tunnel. The bypass tunnel will allow the system to bypass the worst leaks in the system.

The Delaware Aqueduct will remain out of operation for months as crews begin the diversion process, which will require crews to carve through solid rock.

The diversion will take years to complete, with a completion date of 2022. The tunnel is expected to cost $1 billion. New Yorkers aren't expected to notice a difference in their water during the project despite the Department of Environmental Protection calling the project the "largest and most complex water tunnel repair that the city of New York has ever done."

The Aqueduct dates back to World War II, when the primary tunnel was drilled and blasted. The Aqueduct is responsible for carrying 600 million gallons of water daily from Catskill reservoirs. The water, which is diverted entirely by gravity, is then directed to a reservoir north of the city line that holds the water.

The two systems, along with the Catskill Aqueduct, are responsible for serving 9.6 million people in New York City.

Steel was used when the original tunnel was built to provide a sleeve through the limestone tunnel in an effort to avoid weak spots. Workers at the time, and no one is sure why, chose not to extend the steel through the entire limestone formation, leaving weak spots along the way.

Water started to burble into the river through leaks that formed in gaps.

"And speaking of water, if you think you’ve got a leak in the wall, the floor, or any problem in the kitchen or bathroom we can find it fast and get it fixed," explains Miranda Home Services. But leaks in a city's main aqueducts are far more complex, costly and dangerous than a normal residential leak.

The pipeline is losing 3% of the aqueduct's flow, or approximately 18 million gallons of water, per day. City officials couldn't shut the tunnel entirely, so a bypass tunnel was decided upon, which will allow the tunnel to be closed for months rather than years. Access tunnel drilling started in 2013 on either side of the river, with the tunneling processing starting last summer.

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