April 29, 2011

Omaha Copper Theft

I say it again…..
It never fails to amaze me. I was meeting with a MUD technician the other day to replace a $235 water meter that had been stolen while the unit was vacant.
Scrap value $5 … Cost to repair and replace… Enough to make homeowners shoot thieves caught in the act.

The MUD tech was telling me about a gas leak he responded to the other day called in by a home owner, once on sight the tech found no gas leak at that location but followed his detector to a house down the street that had recently gone vacant, the gas was coming out of the vacant house in levels that demanded he cordon off the area and shut down the gas main to the block. Copper thieves had broken in over the weekend and mistakenly cut a gas line then left it open to fill the house for the next few days, had there been any spark or the furnace kicked on BOOM ..!!! Enough gas had built up to level that house and the two neighboring houses he told me.

With all of the increased publicity and talk about copper theft in Omaha, you would think the city would take some action right.? Their reluctance to change Omaha plumbing codes to allow for PEX or (Cross-Linked Polyethylene) piping systems shows the influence of Omaha’s Local labor unions as they also benefit greatly from the increase in work related to all this copper theft and would directly stand to loose Millions of dollars in work if this code was changed to allow for PEX.

Landmark Group prefers the prefers the PEX systems because they help eliminate copper theft of plumbing materials and since it takes less labor to install it is much easier for landlords to do themselves thus reducing repair cost since thieves wont take it and you only have to re plumb a house 1 time instead of every time it is broken into. I guess you could look at it another way tho..?

Perhaps it is the Planning Departments attempt to stimulate the economy by requiring new permit fees, Thousands of dollars which need to be paid prior to repairs , or by helping plumbers retain their jobs and Millions of dollars in repair work for our local plumbing and pipe fitting unions?

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