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Our experience is that the use of lead water service lines is associated with homes built prior to 1920, although we cannot rule out their use at later dates. Homes built before 1988, when the Lead Contamination Control Act went into effect, might contain lead in brass plumbing fixtures or lead solder that was used to connect copper pipes. Homes built in or after 1988 are far less likely to have plumbing fixtures or solder that contains lead.
Lead plumbing pipes are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. If you carefully scratch a pipe with a key or coin, the scratched area on a lead pipe will turn a bright silver color. To avoid putting a hole in the pipe, do not use a knife or other sharp instrument to scratch the pipe. Galvanized piping can also be dull gray in color. A strong magnet will typically cling to galvanized pipes, but will not cling to lead pipes.
In some homes, copper or galvanized pipes were connected using lead solder. These connections have a characteristic solder bulb or bubble.
A certified plumber can tell for sure if you have a lead service line, check for lead solder in internal pipes and look for fixtures containing lead. If your home has a lead service line, contact us about working together to replace it.
If you find you have a lead service line, contact us at 203-562-4020. We will work with you to replace the line at the cost of materials and labor. If you don’t want to replace the lead service line, we will monitor lead levels in your home for up to six months and show you simple things you can do to reduce your exposure to lead in tap water.
Is monitoring for six months enough? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water producers to adjust the water chemistry during the treatment process to prevent lead and copper from leaching into drinking water. During the treatment process, we add chemicals that create a protective coating inside service lines and household plumbing to stop lead and copper from leaching into tap water. That coating protects the pipe. Typically, the amount of lead in water, even with lead service lines or lead solder, doesn’t change over time unless something disrupts the coating in the pipes. When we see spikes in lead at a customer’s home, it is usually because the customer changed a plumbing fixture.