Having a disruption to your water service is never fun — it can happen during an emergency water main break, a hidden service line leak or scheduled repair work.
Repairing leaky or broken pipes requires a specialized team, including people like Eddie Torres, a master plumber who’s worked at Denver Water for nearly 40 years.
“Leaks keep us busy,” Torres said. “Our job is to make repairs and get customers up and running as fast as we can.”
As a master plumber, Torres focuses on connecting customers’ service lines to Denver Water’s distribution pipes in the streets.
“Replacing service lines is tricky. Each situation is different, pipes are made of different material, and some lines were installed more than 100 years ago,” Torres said. “We have to go into basements and crawlspaces where the service lines can be tough to reach.”
Denver Water responds to hundreds of pipe leaks every year. Some problems can be repaired in a couple hours; others are more challenging.
“Eddie is a great trouble-shooter and that comes from years of experience,” said co-worker Eddie Hernandez, a community relations specialist at Denver Water. “He goes out of his way to listen to customers’ concerns, explain the cause of a leak and the plans to fix the problem.”
Torres started his career at Denver Water in 1978 as a water waste patroller on the streets. He then moved to the plumbing shop where he learned his trade. His main focus now is training younger workers about the specialized plumbing field of service line connections.
“Eddie has lots of experience, and it’s great watching him pass on that knowledge to his apprentices,” said Johnny Roybal, water distribution foreman at Denver Water.
While service lines are the responsibility of property owners, Denver Water crews come in contact with them regularly during repairs and leak investigations.
Torres also has extensive experience working on service lines made of lead and plays a primary role in Denver Water’s Lead Service Line Replacement program. Denver Water created the program to address issues surrounding lead and water.
“Whenever we come across a lead service line, we take time to explain the situation to our customers and procedures to remove it,” Torres said. “Education is a big part of my job.”
After nearly four decades on the streets, Torres is showing no signs of slowing down. “I like to get out in the community,” Torres said. “I enjoy interacting with our customers and the camaraderie of working with our crews.”