Lead and Copper Service Line Survey
In January 2017, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to include a mandate for operators of community water systems in the State of Illinois to create a comprehensive service line inventory. This inventory must account for the total number of service lines in the system, the number of lead service lines in the system, and the number of lead service lines replaced the previous year. Moving forward, this inventory must be updated and submitted on or before April 15th of each year.
In an effort to expedite the inventory process, the Village of Western Springs encouraged residents to fill out the Lead and Copper Service Line Survey web form. The web form was designed for those residents that were already aware of the material composition of their service line, as it contains little to no instruction. The results of the 2018 service line survey are as follows:
|Total # of Service Lines||Unknown Service Lines||Copper Service Lines||Lead Service Lines|
The water department's goal over the next year is to greatly reduce the number of unknown service lines that still exist throughout the Village. If you are a resident of Western Springs and have not done so already, please fill out the Lead and Copper Service Line Survey web form.
For those residents whom have not filled out the web form and are unsure of the material composition of their home's service line, the following instructions will help identify key characteristics of both lead and copper service lines.
Instructions for identifying the material composition of your service line:
Possible tools needed (some conclusions can be made by observation):
- 1. a key/coin
- 2. a refrigerator magnet
- Locate the water service line coming in to the home. This is typically found in the basement or lowest level of the structure. An inlet valve and the water meter are installed on the pipe after the point of entry. The picture below may help to assist with locating the service line point of entry.
- Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes in to the home and the inlet valve. If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of metal.
- Use the edge of the key or coin to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe.
Picture above displays the typical inlet valve and meter. The entry point in
this picture displays a characteristic solder "bulb" of a lead service line.
If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper service line, either.
Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color. If the scraped area is shiny and silver, the service line is lead. Lead service lines car also be connected to residential plumbing using solder and have a characteristic solder "bulb" or goose-neck at the end, a compression fitting, or other connector made of galvanized iron. The refrigerator magnet will not stick to a lead pipe; however, it will stick to a galvanized connector. If the refrigerator magnet sticks to the connector then the service line is most likely lead.