Lead Service Line Information
The City of Elmhurst’s public water supply (PWS) provides water purchased from the DuPage Water Commission (DWC) which is provided from the City of Chicago. This water is sourced from Lake Michigan which is an exceptionally high quality water source with one of the most modern surface water treatment facilities in the United States. Water provided through the public water supply meets or exceeds all state and federal requirements for water quality and does not contain lead. The latest water quality report can be found here.
Lead is rarely found in source water or water flowing through the distribution system. However, lead can leach into water over time through corrosion of interior home plumbing. Some water service lines are made of lead depending on when they were installed. Homes built prior to 1988 are more likely to have lead in the plumbing system.
The City of Elmhurst, in accordance with the State of Illinois Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act (415 ILCS 5/17.12), has identified water service line materials throughout the City’s water system and has developed this online tool to identify whether your house has a lead service line. Resources will be provided and are included below to help identify lead in your home and information on water use if your home water service is impacted by construction.
Lead Information Notices
Lead services disturbed by maintenance or emergency repairs can temporarily increase the risk of exposure at the tap. If watermain construction or service line repairs occur at your home, you will receive a notification of scheduled work and additional information about lead services.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
What is a water service line?
Your water service line is the pipe the connects the watermain in the street to your household plumbing. A portion of the service line is owned and maintained by the City. This portion extends from the watermain to the valve in the public right of way. The portion of the service from the valve to the household is owned by the Homeowner.
How do I know if I have a lead service line?
The City has an online mapping tool available to check the material of your water service line. If you want to check yourself, lead services are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. They can be identified by carefully scratching the pipe with a key. If the pipe is made of lead, the area scratched will turn a bright silver color.
Lead service lines can be connected to residential plumbing using solder and have a characteristic bulb at the end, a compression fitting, or other connector made of galvanized iron or brass/bronze.
How will I know if my drinking water has lead in it?
The City can assist by providing information on how to sample your water. Since you cannot see, taste, or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water. A list of certified laboratories is available below and costs between $20-$100.
Full list of IEPA accredited laboratories can be found here.
Will my water utility replace my lead service line?
Lead services lines on a customer’s property are not part of the public water system and are the responsibility and expense of the property owner. The City of Elmhurst is offering a voluntary lead service line replacement program for residents that elect to voluntarily replace their lead service line. Under this program, the City will replace the lead service from the watermain to the valve in the public right of way at no cost to the resident. The City of Elmhurst strongly advises that you contact a licensed plumber for work on your service line. For more information, or if you are interested in replacing your lead service line, please contact the City.
How can I reduce my exposure to lead in my drinking water?
There are many steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water, but if you have lead service lines, the best step you can take is to have them replaced in conjunction with the City of Elmhurst’s lead service line replacement plan. In addition:
- Run your water to flush out lead. If it hasn’t been used for several hours, run the water for three to five minutes to clear most of the lead from the water. (To conserve water, remember to catch the flushed tap water for plants or some other household use such as cleaning.)
- Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris.
- You may consider investing in a home water treatment filter device or alternative water source. When purchasing a water treatment device, make sure it is certified under NSF/ANSI 53 to remove lead. Search for certified products at NSF International (800-NSF-8010) or Water Quality Association (630-505-0160).
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Brass faucets, fittings and valves may leach lead into drinking water. Products sold after Jan. 4, 2014, must by law contain very low levels of lead. A list of plumbing contractors can be found here.
- Have a licensed electrician check your wiring. Your home electrical system may be attached to your service line or elsewhere in your plumbing. If this connection is electrified, it can accelerate corrosion. Check with a licensed electrician to correct ground faults and evaluate your local electric code to determine if your wiring can be grounded elsewhere. DO NOT attempt to change the wiring yourself because improper bonding or grounding can cause electrical shock and fire hazards.
Is it safe to shower in water that contains lead?
Because lead is not absorbed through the skin, bathing or showering in water containing lead is not considered to pose a health risk.
Can my pets drink water with lead?
Lead can impact animals the same way it does humans. Because domestic animals consume a relatively high volume of water relative to their body weight, pet owners with lead in their home plumbing may want to take precautions.
How will I know if my water service will be impacted by future construction?
Watermain improvement projects are typically planned between 2 and 5 years in advance. The City will reach out to homeowners directly as soon as possible when work impacting a lead service line is scheduled.
What if I want to upsize my service line from 3/4” or 1” to 1.5” when I replace my lead service?
If a resident requests a 1.5” service line after the b-box, the permit application will include the cost to increase the meter to a 1” meter.
What if the City has already replaced the city side of the service line with 1” copper and I want to run 1.5” copper after the b-box?
If the City side of the service is already copper and the private side is lead, and the resident wants to upsize to 1.5” copper after the b-box, then the replacement cost from the main to the meter, plus the cost of a new meter will be 100% paid by the resident.
It is the responsibility of the resident to contact a plumber and complete the work. A city permit will be required but the fee will be waived.
What If the resident has a ¾” lead service line and upsizes to 1” copper after the b-box?
They do not need a new meter unless upsizing their service to 1.5”. The City will replace the main to the b-box at its cost and the resident will run 1” copper to the current meter.
EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 1-800-426-4791
National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD (or visit: www.epa.gov/lead)
The City of Elmhurst is available to assist with any specific questions or concerns regarding lead service lines and replacement:
Phone: (630) 530-3030
National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424-LEAD (or visit: www.epa.gov/lead)