Lead Service Line Replacement
Serving Chicago, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, and the Northwestern Suburbs.
How Do I Know if I Have Lead in My Water?
The best way to find out what's in your water is to have it tested; but, there are a few things to look out for.
There are several potential sources of lead in your home plumbing.
- Lead Service Line connecting the water main to your house.
- Old solder in your plumbing.
- Older brass faucets and valves.
How to Check Your Service Line
First, find the water meter in your basement. Look for the pipe that comes through the outside wall of your home that connects to your meter. Lightly scratch the pipe (like a scratch-off lottery ticket) with a key or a coin. Don't use anything sharp. If the scratch turns a shiny silver color, it could be lead. If the service line is painted you may need to use a bit of sandpaper to expose the metal. Finally, place a magnet on the service line, if it sticks, then your pipe is steel. Lead isn't magnetic.
If you can’t see the service line, you may have to rely on water utility records or dig it up to confirm the material.
What's involved with replacing a lead service line?
It starts by digging down to the supply line that attaches to the water main. To do that, we dig a trench from the property to the street to expose the lead lines. The old lead lines are removed and a new copper service line is installed. Then we backfill it with stone to protect it from settling. The final step is adding soil and grass seed to patch the broken landscaping.
Water Service Line Replacement - We Can Help
If you have an old lead service line you want it replaced, give us a call. We've been serving the Northwestern Suburbs for more than a decade. We can help change out that water service line from Lead to Copper, type K, which meets or exceeds building codes in all fifty states.
Is there a safe lead limit?
The EPA measures what limits of contaminants are consumable without adverse health reactions. These health goals are based on possible health risks and adequate margins of safety. In the case of lead, the EPA has ruled that zero is the maximum contaminant level for drinking water because lead is toxic and accumulates in the body over time.
Chicago Lead Replacement Program
Chicago residential homeowners could receive a free permit from the city. That could save property owners up to $3,100 in repair costs. Chicago is also offering to attach new service lines to the water main along with a free water meter if there isn't already one in place. To qualify, the request for the fee waiver must be a standalone and not made in conjunction with a home renovation or expansion.
Adverse Health Effects of Lead
Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:
- Behavior and learning problems
- Lower IQ and hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
- In rare cases, the ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma, and even death.
In Pregnant Women
- Reduced growth of the fetus
- Premature birth
- Find out more about lead's effects on pregnancy:
- Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk. Read more on lead exposure in pregnancy and lactating women (PDF) (302 pp, 4.3 MB, About PDF)
- Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
- Cardiovascular effects increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.
- Decreased kidney function.
- Reproductive problems (in both men and women).