Volunteer plumbers give back to community through no-cost repairs

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On Saturday, nearly 80 union plumbers fanned out across the state to provide free plumbing repairs and inspections to senior, low-income and disabled homeowners as part of Water’s Off.

This community service program helps homeowners in need while raising awareness of the importance of water conservation attained through proper plumbing maintenance and repair.

“Giving back to our communities is one of our core union principles, so once we identified the problem, we knew we needed to help.” said David Ybarra, President of the Minnesota Pipe Trades Association, which represents more than 9,000 plumbers, pipefitters, and other skilled union tradesmen and women.

This weekend, in partnership with local Community Action Partnership agencies, 45 homeowners including Joyce Levingston from the Twin Cities to Rochester were treated to no-cost assistance from a local union member.

“So thankful. I couldn’t believe it and I am just so happy that they’re here and helping me because I did need it,” said Levingston.

Since the Water’s Off community service program started in 1994, union plumber volunteers have donated more than 14,000 hours of skilled labor to over 4,000 households, with a value of over $2,050,000.

“By providing free plumbing repairs & inspections, this program not only saves these homeowners money,” said Marcia Paulson, the program coordinator for Ramsey and Washington County’s Community Action Partnership. “It lifts a weight off their shoulders and brings the community together.”

Water’s Off is made possible by three local unions (Minneapolis Plumbers Local 15, Rochester Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 6, and Saint Paul Plumbers Local 34), the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, the Metro Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors and three Community Action Partnership agencies (Hennepin County, Ramsey and Washington Counties and Three Rivers).