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Lead & Copper In Water

Madison's ground water supply does not contain significant amounts of naturally occurring lead or copper. The naturally corrosive nature of water, however, can dissolve or corrode lead and copper through contact with water service lines, interior pipes and plumbing fixtures.

Replacing Lead Services

Madison was the first major city in the country to launch a full Lead Service Replacement Program. Since 2001, Madison Water Utility has worked to replace all known lead water service lines in the city -- more than 8,000 in all -- with much safer copper.

Although the successful 11-year program has largely been completed, lead services are still occasionally discovered, usually when a property changes hands. If you have a lead water service, you may be eligible to receive a rebate covering half the cost of replacement up to $1,000. Call our general administrative number at (608) 266-4651 for more information, or email water@madisonwater.org.

Lead can also be found in interior pipes and some plumbing fixtures. If you don't know whether your tap water contains lead, you should have the water tested by a certified lab. Proper sampling is required to obtain a valid result. (Note: A single test for lead level in drinking water may not be representative of the level at all times or of the average level over time.)

You can contact the one of the following certified laboratories to get lead sampling procedure information:

  • State Lab of Hygiene, 2601 Agriculture Drive, Madison, WI 53707, Call (608) 224-6202
  • Public Health-Madison & Dane County, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Madison, WI 53709, call (608) 266-4821

Find out more about how to identify lead water pipes and steps you can take to make your water safer.

Lead & Copper Rule Compliance Sampling

The report, Lead and Copper Rule Compliance Sampling, chronicles the utility's efforts to better understand and control lead leaching from pipes, solder, and plumbing fixtures that contain lead-based alloys. It also highlights the importance of uni-directional flushing to reduce manganese scales that can adsorb and concentrate lead in water mains. The report details the lead and copper monitoring plans for 2010 and 2011.

Future Plans

Based on the most recent monitoring results, the Water Utility will be placed on reduced monitoring for lead and copper. This schedule will require monitoring for lead and copper at 50 instead of 100 homes. The next round of sampling is expected to take place in 2017.