I-Team: Mysterious Pipe Leaks Perplex Long Island Residents

Residents in the Plainview and Old Bethpage communities of Long Island have a mystery on their hands.

For a year now, residents have discovered pinhole leaks in their copper pipes, causing water damage and leaving homeowners with the cost of fixing holes in their walls and ceilings.

“I’ve had so many lakes I’ve lost count,” said Plainview resident Melissa Blezow-Yulet, who has spent thousands repairing her kitchen and pipes in her basement.

“Something is going on here,” said Abby Burton, also of Plainview.

Burton has lived in her Plainview home for 36 years and only now is she dealing with pinhole leaks, along dozens of her neighbors. 

"There's something corrosive in the pipes," she said.  

But that something is a mystery. Plumbers and contractors who work in that area say pinhole leaks are happening in pipes of all ages and thickness.

“We do work in Syosset, we do work in Jericho, we work in all areas,” said Ross Portnoy of Personal Touch Home Improvement. “We’ve never seen anything like this, except in Plainview and Old Bethpage.”

The Plainview Water District, which provides water to Plainview, Old Bethpage and Syosset, told the I-Team that the "district continually monitors and tests water quality" and that "pinhole leaks can occur in any copper pipe."

They also offer alternative causes besides water quality, including stray electrical currents in the pipes and erosion of the sacrificial anode within the hot water heater. 

Pinhole leaks have been studied in several states and published scientific research shows the only time pinhole corrosion has been recreated in the lab is with chlorinated water of high pH and low alkalinity. 

It's not clear what's causing the pinhole leaks, but it's leaving residents on edge as they wonder if the problem is coming from their tap.

“If it can go through a copper pipe, what is it doing to me?” asked Burton.

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