Municipal water pressure

What is the conventional pressure range for a city water supply? The one at my mom's house is at 110 PSI and rising, and it's causing multiple failures in the 60-year-old pipes that were originally installed for a 30-40 PSI deep well supply.
At this point we're incurring a lot of expenses in repairs and, now, replacing the entire line from main to house (~200 yards). I'm just interested in whether the water district might have some liability for pumping the water pressure so high.
-Scott
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110 ? rising? Joke?
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Time for a regulator?
Bob
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Wow, that sounds really high. I measured the pressure once when I lived in a city and it was around 70 psi. Now I live rural and have a well, and it starts at 30, stops at 55.
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On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 03:40:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@xmission.com (Scott) wrote:

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Normally city water should be between 20 to 80 psi, but usually there is not too much concern if it is somewhat higher, as long as it is normally that high. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI where we always had 80 psi on the outskirts of town, and downtown it might vary from 90-120. And Chippawa Falls, WI has always had 125 psi down by the river.
But if the pressure has been rising or is surging, the city might have a pressure regulating valve or pump controls that need work. You could get your own pressure regulating valve to protect her house. But if you use one of those or there is a backflow preventer on your meter connection, the house may need an expansion tank on the cold water supply to the water heater to handle thermal expansion (cold water expands and can build pressure when heated).
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On Thu, 7 Aug 2003 06:27:17 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@xnet.com (David Efflandt) wrote:

That's part of the issue. The pressure has risen from 50 to 110 over the course of a decade or so.

IMO it's deliberate. My mom's place is on the sloping plane area below the foothills. When city water became available, hers was just about the highest house. The supply pressure at that time was around 50 PSI. In the years since, an expensive McSuburb has sprouted in the foothills above my mom's old farmhouse, and they're all on the same water main. I reckon the city has been cranking the pressure on that main to keep the new houses supplied.
We've had the city engineer out, but his opinion is that it's normal. My mom's opinion of the city engineer is...well, let's not go there.

I did that, once I figured out what was going on, and stopped the pressure problems in the house. But that leaves the 200 yards of old supply line between the house and the main, buried at 5' under a driveway, mature shade trees and outbuildings. The cost and impact of replacing it are decidedly non-trivial.
On one hand, it's a huge expense and hassle caused in part by the city increasing the supply pressure; my mom really can't afford the repair work, so maybe the city needs to pitch in. On the other hand, it's a 60 year old pipe that was designed to work with a 40 PSI well pump, and really can't be faulted for failing. Ugh...perhaps it really would be best to get a lawyer involved.

If we had that problem I never knew it. Installing the regulator introduced a serious water hammer in the house. A couple of hammer arrestors fixed it. There haven't been any further pressure-related problems in the house; perhaps the hammer arrestors are able to soak up the thermal expansion as well.
Thanks, -Scott
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(David

My neighbor put his PRV just past the meter near the street....
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On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 07:51:29 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@xmission.com (Scott) wrote:

That's not exactly abnormal, a decade is quite a while... :)

First, you usually out the PRV at the meter. Second, is the main showing any signs of trouble? If it's an older line, it's likely galvanized steel and will have no issues with 110 PSI.

So maybe you need to call and complain to them, we can't force your city to help you.
Jeff
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wrote:

The main's less than 20 years old. I dimly remember watching our water line being connected to it, and I recall it being blue plastic.
Regulators at the street meter are unusual around here, AFAIK, but then I'm not a professional plumber. I'll call one and ask.

Of course not, but I wanted to get an idea of how our situation compares to some others.
-Scott
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That's the type of plastic I suggested but I see I said 1". Depending on the water co's pressure, that might have to be 1.25" or 1.5".
I've seen some 20 yo galvanized that wouldn't hold 50 psi. It depends on the water quality run through the line, not the age.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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Do you actually have estimates for replacement of the line? You may find it isn't as expensive as you may think. Find someone that trenching for water service lines and get quotes if you haven't. If you're handy, rent a ditch witch and buy a 500' and a 200' (or 1000') rolls of 200 psi rated 1" PE tubing that is used for well installations and DIY.
IMO a lawyer isn't going to get the water company to pay for this, it's her service line and she installed it many years ago. And why should they pay simply because they raised the pressure to serve customers past her? That's usually the way it's done or they build pump stations and raise everyone's rates while they listen to people complain about the pump station and how it looks. Although I guess some people would rather have complaints about the expense to fix a low pressure problem.
Gary Quality Water Associates
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On Thu, 7 Aug 2003 06:27:17 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@xnet.com (David Efflandt) wrote:

I thought Milwaukee only had beer, not water :)
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I have seen the pressure go as high as 120 psi. It was caused by bad pressure reducing valve. Look and see if you have one on the system. You can't miss it as it should be near where the water enters the hose.
If you don't have one, install one and get a decent brand like watts, no braukman.
HTH
rik
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On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 03:40:44 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@xmission.com (Scott) wrote:

So call the water company and ask for help.

So call them and ask.
Jeff
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Scott,
You have lots of good answers - save for perhaps one. Let me suggest moving the pressure reduction valve (replace it if it is not a good name brand one!) out to the meter, and see if you can find a plumber with leak detection equipment so the leak can be fixed without replacing the entire line.
Another suggestion - there is the possibility that either local, State or Federal agencies (Like the AWWA) connected to the "water industry" offer free services to municipalities for evaluating leaks in water systems. If so, perhaps if your local water board (authority, municipality or whatever) were in need, and able to obtain free services in this regard after your suggestion or help - they might be grateful enough to try and persuade the agency performing the services to check out your mom's property "while they are in the neighborhood".
Just some thoughts... .
I hope this helps.
Scott wrote:

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