Grading the nation: Lead pipe disclosure policies

How does your state measure up?

Map of state grades for lead pipes

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.

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What we did

EDF analyzed and graded the housing disclosure policies of all US states and the District of Columbia 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 — and the District of Columbia scored an A-. Twenty-one states scored a D or F. The remaining 25 states 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.

What if my home has a LSL?

If you are concerned that you may have a LSL, call your water utility to find out more. You can also check out NPR’s online tool to investigate yourself.

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