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.

Lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects:

  • In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with deficits in attention span and learning abilities.
  • In adults, kidney problems or high blood pressure could result if water with high levels of lead is ingested over a long period of time.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that the levels of lead and copper in drinking water be limited.

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

Lead & Copper Rule Compliance Sampling

Updated April 19, 2013

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 2014.