Community and utility efforts to replace lead service lines

Communities and utilities aim to replace at least 240,000 lead pipes in their water systems

EDF has identified communities and utilities that have publicly set a goal of fully replacing all lead service lines (LSLs) in their jurisdiction. The table below provides a summary of those who have stated the goal in an official source. Follow the links in the first column for more details below.

While many communities are diligently working on LSL replacement, they may not yet be ready or willing to set a goal of full replacement. We recognize these communities and utilities who are taking steps below as well.

Summary of community full lead service line replacement goals

Table displays best in landscape mode

Community or utility Estimate of LSLs Date of goal Timeframe to achieve Type of commitment Notes
Total >290,690*
Ann Arbor, MI 100 2016 None set City’s goal Began removing lead goosenecks 25 years ago
Bozeman, MT 85 May 2016 None set City goal Full replacement at the city cost
Cincinnati, OH 27,000 October 2016 15 years Ordinance Developing low-income assistance program
Denver, CO 60,000 Unknown None set Utility goal Low interest loans available for homeowners
Detroit, MI 125,000 Spring 2017 None set Utility goal Plan being developed
Eau Claire, WI 1,266 April 2017 None set Utility goal Funding available for private side replacement
Flint, MI 20,000 February 2016 3 years Mayor’s goal State and federal government providing portion of funding
Green Bay, WI 1,229 2016 10 years Ordinance Funding available for private side replacement
Indiana American Water
27 communities
50,000 January 2018 10 - 24 years Filing plan Plan must be approved by Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
Platteville, WI 400 April 2017 None set Utility goal Funding available for private side replacement
Pueblo, CO Unknown Unknown None set Utility goal Plan being developed
Tacoma, WA 1,200 May 2016 5 years Utility goal Program addresses lead goosenecks
Two Rivers, WI 2,600 Unknown None set Ordinance Funding available for private side replacement
York, PA 1,660 November 2016 9 years Utility goal Cost of replacement in customer rates
Quincy, MA 150 Unknown None set Utility goal Replacement at no cost to homeowners
Waterloo, WI Unknown December 2016 None set Ordinance Funding available for private side replacement

* Estimate of the total LSLs for which communities have set a goal to replace. This number is likely an underestimate, as most communities do not know where all of the LSLs are located.

Full descriptions of community programs

For each community, we describe their progress on the following four areas, based on publicly available information: avoiding partial replacement; providing economical and equitable replacement options; developing a robust, public inventory; and providing guidance to property owners. When referring to ownership of the service line, we use the community’s language.

Goals of full lead service line replacement

Forty-two communities have set a goal of full LSL replacement in the form of an ordinance, utility goal, or other statement on the municipality or utility website. Programs differ in what progress they have made, funding mechanisms, and approaches to disclosing LSL location information to the public.

While setting a goal of replacing LSLs is commendable, community members should follow closely to ensure that progress is made towards these goals. 

Ann Arbor, Michigan
The City of Ann Arbor committed to removing the remaining 100 lead goosenecks** in its system. The removal process began in 1991, and the city announced its plan to remove all goosenecks in 2016.

Bozeman, Montana
The City of Bozeman announced an LSL Replacement Project in May 2016 with the goal of identifying and replacing all LSLs in the water system. For the project, the City identified homes with LSLs and offered water testing to establish a replacement schedule. The Bozeman Water and Sewer Department plans to replace the identified lines over the next several years and fully replace LSLs when discovered during maintenance activities. The city estimates 85 LSLs remain in the water system.

Cincinnati, Ohio
In October 2016, the Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance directing the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) to develop a program to replace the remaining 27,000 LSLs in the City within 15 years. In June 2017, the City Council passed three ordinances to implement the replacement program. It prohibits existing LSLs and provides an automatic grace period for residents. When GCWW notifies a property owner of the need to replace an LSL, the person must choose whether to replace it at their own cost or contract with utility to do it. If residents have the utility do it, they can receive 40-50% off the cost of replacement on private property up to $1,500 and have the balance added to their property assessment. Additionally, landlords must notify prospective tenants if a unit is serviced by an LSL. The GCWW provides a detailed interactive map, with both private and public side data, for the public to search an address and learn if the service line material is lead.

Denver, Colorado
Denver Water has publicly stated their goal to get LSLs out of their community. The utility conducts full replacements if they discover an LSL during planned construction and maintenance. To assist homeowners with the cost of replacement, Denver Water partnered with Denver Urban Renewal Authority to provide low-interest loans to eligible homeowners. The utility is researching regulations, plumbing codes, and policies from prior decades to inventory where LSLs may exist.

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is developing a program to replace all of the city’s estimated 125,000 LSLs. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has identified three phases in the replacement program. Phase one, which launched in June 2017, covers improving the city’s inventory and sampling protocol. In May 2017, DWSD began phase two to determine the protocol for eliminating partial replacements and completing full LSL replacements for planned water main replacement projects. Phase three includes prioritization of replacement in neighborhoods with high density LSLs and children with elevated blood lead levels. The third phase is expected to launch in spring 2018 pending finalization of the legal, financial, and technical aspects.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Eau Claire has stated a goal of removing the remaining LSLs in the city’s system and avoiding partial LSL replacements. Using Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) funding, the city will reimburse property owners up to $1,000 for private side LSL replacement. Eau Claire estimates it has 1,266 LSLs remaining, and residents can search their address on an online lookup to see pipe material on the public side.

Flint, Michigan
Following the crisis with Flint’s water supply, Mayor Karen Weaver launched the FAST Start Initiative in February 2016 to replace all LSLs in the city. The goal of the program is to remove all 20,000 LSLs by 2020, with 6,000 replaced annually over the next 3 years. As of July 2017, LSLs at nearly 2,300 homes have been replaced. The city has received both federal and state funds to finish the inventorying and replacement process.

Green Bay, Wisconsin
In summer 2016, the city of Green Bay passed an ordinance establishing the need to create a comprehensive LSL replacement program and requiring property owners to replace private side lead services within a year of their discovery. Although the utility has been replacing utility-owned service lines since about 1990, it initiated a concerted effort to accelerate replacements beginning in January 2016. As of April 2017, Green Bay estimates that there are 1,229 LSLs out of a total of more than 36,400 service lines in the city. A list of addresses and a map detailing utility-owned service lines is maintained on the utility’s website and updated monthly. To assist with the cost of these replacements, the utility provides forgivable principal loans (grants) from the Wisconsin DNR.

Indiana American Water
Pursuant to a state law enacted in 2017, Indiana American Water voluntarily submitted a plan on January 29, 2018 to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to fully replace 50,000 LSLs for its 300,000 customers in 27 communities across the state. The plan calls for the private utility to use rates paid by customers to fund the replacement of LSLs on customers’ property. Customers would have to agree to the improvements and pay for unusual costs – typically those above $7,000 per line. Once IURC approves the plan, the company must make get additional approve specific rate changes. The 27 communities are: Crawfordsville, East Chicago, Farmersburg, Johnson County, Mecca, Merom, Mooresville, Muncie, Northwest Operations, Newburgh, Noblesville, Richmond, Russiaville, Seymour, Shelbyville, Somerset, Southern Indiana Operations, Sullivan, Summitville, Terre Haute, Wabash, Warsaw, Waveland, West Lafayette, Westwood, Winchester, and Yankeetown.

Platteville, Wisconsin
Platteville Public Works announced a goal in April 2017 of removing the LSLs that remain in the city. Using funds from Wisconsin DNR, the city is replacing LSLs at licensed childcare facilities and reimbursing property owners up to $1,140 for the cost of private side LSL replacement. The utility has an interactive map on its website displaying the locations of replaced LSLs and the 400+ LSLs remaining in the system.

Pueblo, Colorado
The Board of Water Works of Pueblo, Coloradoannounced its “Get the Lead Out” program to eliminate LSLs in the community. Under this program, property owners do not have the financial responsibility for replacement. While replacement will begin with known LSLs in older buildings, Pueblo Water will also take a physical inventory of service lines of unknown material and replace any additional LSLs found at no charge to the resident.

Quincy, Massachusetts
The City of Quincy committed to the goal of replacing the estimated 150 LSLs remaining in its system. The City plans to use a $1.5 million loan from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority to replace the lines at no cost to property owners. A static map and list of buildings with identified LSLs is provided on the city’s website.

Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma Water informed its customers in May 2016 that it would replace the remaining 1,200 lead goosenecks**, connecting the water main to the service line, the service system within 5 years. The utility provides a static map of possible gooseneck locations for interested residents.

Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Two Rivers adopted Ordinance 5-1-8 in January 2017 establishing the need for a comprehensive replacement program and requiring replacement if an LSL is discovered on the private side during water system reconstruction. The city is using funding in the form of principal forgiveness from Wisconsin DNR to aid eligible residents with the cost of LSL replacement on the private side. Two Rivers estimates that approximately half (2,600) of its 5,100 water services contain lead.

Waterloo, Wisconsin
Waterloo adopted Ordinance 2016-4 in December 2016 establishing the need for a comprehensive LSL replacement plan and requiring replacement of private side LSLs. The city offers residents a grant equal to 75% of the cost of private side LSL replacement, up to $2,300.

York, Pennsylvania
In November 2016, York Water announced a commitment to replace the 1,660 LSLs in its service area. The utility received approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in March 2017 to replace privately owned LSLs at little to no cost for residents. York Water provides a lookup tool for residents to check if the public side of the service line associated with their account is made of lead, and they are actively seeking information from residents to identify other LSLs in the system.

Taking steps on replacing lead service lines

The 20 communities below have made important progress, but have not yet set a goal of replacing all LSLs. While each community differs, the programs are generally focused on replacing LSLs only when the main under the street is being reconstructed or are voluntary programs that help homeowners finance LSL replacement on the private side.

Ashland, Wisconsin
Using funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Ashland began a program in 2017 to replace LSLs in the city, based on a priority scale. The program involves replacement of the privately-owned portion of the LSL at no cost to the homeowner. The 2018 Private Lead Lateral Replacement Program continues these efforts and is available to eligible property owners on a first-come-first-served basis.

Boston, Massachusetts
In April 2016, Mayor Marty Walsh announced an expansion of the city’s lead replacement incentive program, which was initiated in 2005. The Boston Water and Sewer Commission has committed resources to educate their customers on lead issues and allows eligible property owners to participate in the voluntary program. Participants can qualify for up to $2,000 off the cost of replacement of the part on private property with the remaining cost paid over 48 months at zero interest on their water bill. The utility provides a dedicated phone line for affected ratepayers and an interactive map on its website that highlights properties with an LSL in yellow.

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
As part of their “Get the Lead Out” program, the City of Fond du Lac announced that it is necessary to replace LSLs in the community. In February 2017, the city council passed Ordinance 3629 prohibiting partial LSL replacements and mandating replacement if an LSL is found during construction. Approximately 2,986 LSLs remain on the public side, which can be viewed on an interactive map. The city does not have an estimate for the number of privately owned LSLs. Wisconsin DNR provided funds to the city to help alleviate residents’ financial burden of replacing LSLs on the private side. Homeowners who use a City Prequalified Plumber to replace the private side of the LSL are eligible for a subsidy of 50% of the costs up to a maximum of $2,000 per property.

Galesburg, Illinois
In January 2017, Galesburg announced it would replace LSLs in the city using funds from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund administered by the Illinois EPA. The city provides a lookup tool for residents to search their address and check the service line material. In total, the city has 4,700 LSLs.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
The City of Grand Rapids has a policy enabling LSL replacement at no cost to the property owner if the LSL has a leak or if the property is within the limits of a water main replacement. For property owners that do not meet one of these conditions, the city also offers a 10-year low interest loan to assist with financing proactive replacement. The city coordinates replacement on the public side when the property owner replaces the private side of the LSL.

Janesville, Wisconsin
The city of Janesville is reimbursing homeowners up to $5,000 for LSL replacement on the private side, which will fund approximately 100 LSL replacements.

Kewaunee, Wisconsin
The city of Kewaunee adopted an ordinance in June 2015 to replace LSLs when reconstructing a main under the street. The property owner must pay for the costs of LSL replacement on the owner’s property.

Lake Mills, Wisconsin
Using Wisconsin DNR funding, Lake Mills Light and Water reimburses homeowners up to 75% of the cost, up to a maximum of $3,750, of LSL replacement on the private side.

Malden, Massachusetts
Malden is in the process of developing an LSL replacement program. The city estimates it has 3,000 LSLs and provides a map on its website that shows the service line material of the public and private sides. The city works to coordinate public side replacement if a homeowner removes the private side. Homeowners that want to replace their service line may be eligible to receive no-interest loans through the Malden Redevelopment Authority.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Manitowoc Public Utilities is developing a program to disburse limited funds awarded by Wisconsin DNR to residents who replace LSLs on their property. The utility estimates 6,500 LSLs remain on the public side, which are detailed on an interactive map on the utility’s website. Qualified residents will be eligible for reimbursement for LSL replacement, the full details of which are still being finalized.

Marshfield, Wisconsin
Using a $300,000 grant from Wisconsin DNR, Marshfield Utilities is reimbursing residents – on a first come first serve basis – for LSL replacement on the private side.

Menasha, Wisconsin
Menasha Utilities developed a Lead Service Replacement Program using Wisconsin DNR funding that rebates eligible customers 50% of the cost up to $1,000 of private side LSL replacement (and 75% up to $1,500 based on family income if the homeowner qualifies for energy assistance).

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A Milwaukee ordinance signed in December 2016 created a plan to begin replacing LSLs in the city. Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) is replacing the full service line when any leaking or damaged LSLs are found during construction or when there is planned or emergency replacement of the utility-owned portion of the line. In addition, LSLs at 385 childcare facilities and eight private schools will be replaced. Residential property owners of 1-4 family dwellings who use the city contractor are eligible for special assessment financing or a city cost share. MWW estimates that 70,000 residential properties and 6,000 commercial properties have LSLs. The city provides a static map of properties and a list of building addresses with an LSL on the public side.

Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Oshkosh Public Works Department – Water Utility is in the process of developing a plan for full LSL replacement of the estimated 7,500-9,700 lines on the public side and 11,000 on the private side. In March 2017 the city updated its Municipal Code with Section 20-13, finding it necessary to establish a program for replacement of public and private side LSLs, and the Common Council adopted its Pilot Program Lead Service Line Replacement Policy in June 2017. The city provides a static map on their website detailing potential LSLs on the public side. Currently, the project is funded through a Wisconsin DNR award; the city reimburses 50% (up to $1,500) of the cost of private side LSL replacement for eligible homeowners. The program allows additional assistance (which could cover 100% of the cost of private side replacement) to property owners at or below 80% median income based on family size.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Water Department replaces the full service line, at no cost to the resident, when an LSL is discovered during water main replacements. The city has determined that the entire service line, including the portion on public property, is owned by the property owner. The department also provides interest free loans for residents interested in replacing their LSL if main replacement is not scheduled.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) was required to begin replacing LSLs on the public side in June 2016. The utility began development of a Lead Water Service Line Program in October 2016; the program includes identifying LSLs and assisting property owners that want to coordinate private and public side replacement. The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority offers property owners loans up to $10,000 at 3% interest to assist with the cost of private side replacement. Property owners can search an interactive map on PWSA’s website to check service line material on the public and private side. In May 2017, PWSA halted partial replacements.

Racine, Wisconsin
Racine Water Utility has begun a pilot program to replace the full LSL, partly funded by Wisconsin DNR. Eligible homeowners can receive up to $2,500 if they voluntarily replace their LSL. The city estimates 11,000 LSLs remain in the system.

Rockford, Illinois
The Rockford Water Division encourages eligible property owners with an LSL to coordinate with the Water Division to replace the LSL on public and private property at the same time. Additionally, the City launched an interactive map to provide information about the location of LSLs to residents and business owners. The map displays if the service line materials is lead, non-lead, or if there is no information for the public and private side of the line.

Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Sheboygan Water Utility is using Wisconsin DNR funding to target specific projects, including replacing LSLs at schools and licensed day care centers and replacing failing or disturbed LSLs. Homeowners who are eligible for rebates can receive up to $2,500 for the cost of private side LSL replacement. The city estimates 7,500 LSLs remain in the system.

Washington, DC
The District of Columbia has a voluntary LSL replacement program where DC Water will, if the resident meets certain requirements, coordinate private side and public side replacement at the resident’s request. Additionally, DC Water provides an interactive map on its website that allows users to search any address and see what is known about the service line material on the public and private side.

**Though the Lead and Copper Rule does not define a lead service line to include service lines that only have lead pipe in a gooseneck or pigtail, we consider them to be a lead service line. This approach is consistent with EPA’s Advisory Committee’s recommendations.