In Miami-Dade service runs to the property line where the meter is placed. Connecting to the main is done by electrofusing (applying an electrical current that melts and then fuses the connecting tee to the curve of the pipe) side-saddle tees from Central Plastics. Electro-fusion differs from heat fusing in that it uses electricity — not heat — to fuse the pipe ends.

“We make the connection to the meter and water is running typically within a few hours,” Mathews says.

“Water pressure is immediately restored,” Aguiar says. “For our customers it's like they're seeing sunshine for the first time. And that's a good feeling for us.”

— Cooper is a New York-based business writer.

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Crews install a new 2-inch HDPE water pipeline that — within a few hours — provides residents with better water pressure. Photos: Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department

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The old galvanized metal pipe provides a path for the new pipe to follow. Crews excavate a small hole, insert metal rods to break the old pipe, and pull the new pipe back through.