Service Pipe Material Information

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Lead service lines were predominately installed prior to the mid-1950s in the District of Columbia, but there are records of lead service lines being installed as late as 1977. You can use the map at right to see if your property has or might have a lead service line, based on DC Water's records and other available information.

Prior to 1977, the property owner was responsible for the installation, repair and replacement of the water service line from the building to the water main in public space. After 1977, the District (now DC Water, since 1996) assumed the responsibility for maintaining water service lines in public space. Although property owners were and still are required to obtain a permit when they repair or replace their service line, some property owners may not have reported this information to the District/DC Water. Therefore, while DC Water has pipe material data for service line sections of some homes, we cannot guarantee the data is accurate for every property.

The District/DC Water has collected pipe material data for service lines based on permit records, water main tap records, meter records, and maintenance, repair and replacement work. If available, DC Water has recorded the type of pipe material by the sections of the service line in public space and the portion from the property line to the building.

What you can do to minimize your exposure to lead and update DC Water's records

The first step is to identify potential sources of lead. Start with the map to determine what information exists about the service line that supplies water to your home.

  • Service Lines

    DC Water has historic data for the public portion of the service line from plumbing records, service installation, and maintenance activity when reported to DC Water or the utility agency at the time. Where DC Water has verified the pipe material by test pit or visual observation during a public space and/or private property service line replacement, the data source will be shown as "inspection" and is accurate as of the given inspection date. All other information is based on the historic records, but not confirmed.

    Next, look at the pipe coming into your property to determine if it is copper, lead, or galvanized iron. More information about how to identify your pipe material is available here (PDF) .

    If you are able to determine what the pipe is made of, please send a photograph and your identification of the material to so we can update our records. If you are unsure, note that in the email and we will conduct an evaluation and respond.

    When the water main was originally installed, the pipe material connecting to the main was the same as the material entering your property. However, service line repairs or property renovations may have changed a portion of the original continuous service line. If you have already replaced your lead service line, please send us a copy of the records by mail or email so we can update our records for your property. In addition, send us a picture of the service line entering your home. This will help confirm the type of pipe material.

  • Water Testing

    Another tool to investigate whether your water is in contact with lead is to have it tested. DC Water offers free water testing for lead to residential customers. Test results can indicate if a lead source is present or support the absence of lead. In addition to lead service pipes, sources of lead can include lead solder used to connect pipes in household plumbing; brass faucets, valves and fittings; and galvanized iron pipes.

    You can test your water for lead by requesting a free lead monitoring kit at or by phone at 202-354-3600.

  • Removing Sources of Lead

    The most effective way to minimize exposure to lead is to remove the source(s) of lead. If you plan to replace the lead service line on your property, we will replace the lead service line in public space at no cost to you. Contact us at 202-354-3600 for more information on this program.

    Removing galvanized plumbing within your home can also help reduce potential exposure to lead. Contact a licensed plumber about replacing household plumbing.

  • Use Filtered Tap Water

    If you know you have sources of lead in your home, or you are unsure, you can reduce your exposure to lead by filtering the tap water you use for drinking and cooking. This is especially recommended for pregnant women or children under age six. Select a filter certified to meet NSF Standard 53 for lead. More information about water filters is available here.

More Information on Minimizing Lead Exposure:

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