Lead Service Lines
Our mission is simple yet vital: to educate and empower every resident of the City of Minot to test their water service lines for lead and report the results. By doing so, we can build a fully accurate inventory of lead service lines in our city, meeting the federal government's timeline. This inventory is not just a bureaucratic requirement; it directly affects our community's budget and taxes. If a service line is not reported, we must assume it contains lead, which can lead to significant financial burdens.
By taking action and testing your water service lines, you become an essential part of our collective effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our entire community. Join us in this crucial initiative, and together, we can make a significant impact on the health and future of the City of Minot.
A service line is the piping that connects your interior plumbing to the City water main. If it contains lead piping, it is considered to be a lead service line.
Most of our customers share this service line with the City; typically, from the curb stop to the house is the homeowner’s responsibility, and from the curb stop to the main is the City’s responsibility. The City’s policy is to remove any known city-owned lead service lines, however much is unknown about the customer-owned service line material.
If you know you have a lead service line, let us know here.
- Why Test Service Lines
- How to Test
- Additional Resources
- How Does Lead Enter Drinking Water?
- Is My Water Safe?
It’s estimated that up to 10 million lead service lines exist in the United States. Although the Safe Drinking Water Act banned the use of lead service lines in 1986, they were commonly connected to homes before this ban went into place. If you live in an older home or building, it’s important to learn if your home is connected to one of these pipes.
The federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act went into effect in January 2014. The act has reduced the amount of lead content in water systems and plumbing products by changing the definition of lead free in the Safe Water Drinking Act from not more than 8 percent lead content to not more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and plumbing fixtures. The SDWA prohibits the use of these products in the installation or repair of any public water system or facility providing water for human consumption if they do not meet the lead-free requirement.
As part of the program, the EPA created an interactive mapping system for cities across the country to document the type of water service lines in use. The map includes different colored categories for lead, assumed lead, galvanized requiring replacement, non-lead, and unknown. There’s a lot of grey on Minot’s map, though, meaning there’s a high number of properties where the City doesn’t know what type of water line was installed.
Minot’s map and a link to a lead service line survey is available at https://geohub-minotnd.hub.arcgis.com/pages/division-water.
The goal is to find out how many lead water service lines exist in Minot, and then plan how to replace those lines.
There are several methods homeowners can use to determine what type of water service line is in their house. First, locate the water service line entering the structure. Typically, these are found in the basement and have a valve and water meter installed on the pipe after the point of entry.
- Scratch Test - Carefully scratch the surface of the pipe with a flathead screwdriver. Each type of pipe will produce a different scratch. If the scraped area is shiny and silver, the pipe is lead. If the scraped area looks like the color of a penny, the pipe is copper. If the scratched area remains a dull gray color, the pipe is galvanized steel.
- Magnet test - A magnet will stick to a galvanized steel pipe, but will not stick to copper or lead pipes.
- Tapping test - Tapping a lead pipe with a coin produces a dull noise. Tapping a copper pipe or a galvanized steel pipe with a coin produces a metallic ringing noise.
Once you've discovered the material of your service line, let us know here.
Minot’s know lead service lines map is available at https://geohub-minotnd.hub.arcgis.com/pages/division-water.
Lead is a common toxic metal that can enter your drinking water through pipes and plumbing materials made of lead. The Centers for Disease Control states that exposure to lead, even at low levels, can damage children’s developing brains and nervous systems, contributing to lower IQs, hearing loss, and learning and behavior problems in and out of the classroom.
Source water from a water treatment plant rarely contains lead. Instead, lead can be released into water from plumbing materials that contain lead. Common sources of lead in drinking water include lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures, as well as galvanized pipes, brass or chrome-plated fixtures containing lead, and lead solder connecting copper piping. When present, a lead service line can be the biggest contributor of lead in drinking water.
The Minot Water Treatment Plant uses a compound of polyphosphates that reduce the corrosion of the water line. By reducing that corrosion, it may help in reducing the amount of lead that leaches into the water through the lead pipes.
You can take several steps to reduce exposure to lead and copper from drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you:
- Run your water to flush out lead and copper. The longer water sits in your home piping; the more lead and copper may leach from lead and copper-containing pipes and fixtures. Before drinking, flush your pipes for several minutes by running your tap, taking a shower, doing laundry, or a load of dishes. This will bring in fresh water from the distribution system.
- Use cold water for cooking and for preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead and copper dissolve more easily in hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Identify and replace lead service lines and plumbing fixtures that contain lead. Lead service lines have been identified as a large contributor to lead in drinking water nationwide, replacing these old water lines can help reduce exposure to lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free” may contribute lead to a home’s drinking water. The law currently allows pipes, fittings, and fixtures with up to 0.25 percent (25%) weighted average of lead to be identified as lead-free. Plumbing materials that are lead-free may be identified by looking for lead-free certification marks.
- Consider using a filter certified for lead removal. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead. Verify the claims of manufacturers by checking with independent certifying organizations that provide lists of treatment devices that they have certified. Remember, boiling water DOES NOT remove lead from water.
- Regularly clean faucet aerators. Aerators, the screens at the end of faucets, can collect debris. Rinse out collected materials to reduce debris accumulation.
- Use an alternative source. If lead is identified in your home, until the concentration of lead in drinking water is mitigated, you should use a different source of drinking water (i.e. bottled water).