Lead Information

How Do I Know If I Have A Company-Owned Lead Service Line?

Lead History

Lead has been used extensively since before the 1900’s throughout our society. For those that remember the 1960’s and 70s, we had leaded gasoline, leaded paint, leaded solder, and some regions were still using lead pipes.It was then realized that when we ingest lead it has adverse impacts on human health (click here to read our informational brochure on lead)

Lead in Water?

There is no measurable lead in the water that York Water supplies into our water system. Any lead that a customer may receive in their water is due to plumbing materials at the customer’s premise; and/or lead service lines owned by York Water and/or the customer. The service line is usually in 2 parts: One part is owned by York Water, which is the part from the water main to the curb line. The second part is owned by the property owner and runs from the curb line into the house. Plumbing within the house, which is also owned by the property owner, is typically copper, plastic, brass, or steel. Some household plumbing also contains lead based solder used to join copper pipes.

The York Water Company has over 65,000 customer connections, some of them dating back to the early 1900s. Using lead in plumbing was common throughout the 1900s. York Water stopped installing lead service lines around 1934. As of 2016, about 3 percent of our customers still had company-owned lead service lines, most of the other 97 percent of customers have copper, plastic, or steel lines. If your house was built before 1935 you can call us at 845-3601 and we’ll let you know if our records indicate whether our service line is lead. Although not all lead service lines may be leaching lead, any reduction is beneficial and you should follow the guidelines below on reducing lead in your water.

Where is the lead?

In addition to company owned lead service lines, there are generally 4 areas that lead could be located on the customer’s premise:The customer-owned service line entering the house, leaded solder in the house, or brass fixtures containing lead. Another potential source of lead in homes is lead paint which was banned in 1978. In 1990 the EPA passed the Lead & Copper Rule to help reduce the amount of lead that may be present in the piping at a customer’s premise. Also in 1990, the EPA required lead testing in a sampling of houses by the public water supplier.

York Water Efforts to Reduce Lead

Since 1992, York Water has been providing corrosion control treatment into our water supply. This adjusts the pH of the water and helps reduce the amount of lead that may leach out of the on-premise piping. Triennial testing has been conducted to determine lead levels in the drinking water at your tap. York Water is now testing at more frequent 6-month intervals.

York Water has also been actively replacing the company-owned lead service lines with copper service lines with a goal of eliminating all of our lead service lines. Plumbing within the house, which is also owned by the property owner, is typically copper, plastic, brass, or steel. Some plumbing contains lead based solder used to join copper pipes.

Whenever York Water replaces its side of the lead service line, we contact the owner and notify them of our plans. We also suggest that they should replace their side of the service line, if it is lead, at the same time and we’ve provided them with access to literature regarding ways to reduce lead in their drinking water. York Water is currently replacing about 25 percent of our lead service lines per year with a goal of total replacement over the next 4 years.

How can I reduce the lead in my drinking water?

If a water test indicates that the drinking water drawn from a tap contains lead above 15 ppb, or if you would like to reduce potential lead at your tap, then you should take the following precautions:

  1. Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for 15-30 seconds to flush lead from interior plumbing. If you have a lead service line, running the water for at least 3 minutes (about 3 gallons) if the water lines have not been used for more than 6 hours.
  2. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula.
  3. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  4. Look for alternative drinking water sources or treatment of water. The NSF Consumer Affairs Office has specific information about lead treatment at: NSF.org
  5. Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead.
  6. Have an electrician check to see if wires are improperly grounded to your pipe.

Your family doctor or pediatrician can test your child’s blood level for lead and provide information on the health effects of lead.

How can I determine if my part of the service line is lead?


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