Report release: March 14, 2017 (Revised 3/1/18)
Lead service lines – the lead pipes connecting water mains under the street to homes and other buildings – are the main source of lead in contact with drinking water. Homebuyers deserve to know about this liability when they choose a home and negotiate a price. When done properly, removing the full lead service lines significantly reduces the risk of exposure.
What we did
EDF analyzed and graded the housing disclosure policies of all US states and Washington, DC according to their ability to help homebuyers make informed decisions about lead service lines before they sign a sales contract.
What we found
Four states, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania, scored an A-. Twenty states scored a D or F. The remaining 26 states and Washington, DC scored a B or C. The highest grade we gave was an A- to reflect the fact that even the top performing states have room for improvement.
Opportunities for improvement
EDF sees significant opportunities for states to help protect homeowners from lead by improving their disclosure requirements. Water utilities can help this effort by informing all property owners if they are likely to have a lead service line. Home inspectors can also help by checking the service line as it comes into the home and letting the buyer know whether or not it is lead and recommending replacement.