Water Service Line Inventory & Survey

Water Service Inventory

The EPA recently announced steps to strengthen the regulatory framework on lead in drinking water. This includes an initiative to find all lead water service lines in the distribution systems of every water utility in the US. This includes the private service lines that connect your home to the City's water main.

Please note that this is only an inventory to help each water utility and their customers determine if lead service lines exist. Please see the information further down this page for more information about lead in drinking water.

Fill out the inventory survey

If you have questions or need any assistance, please contact Elisabeth Sowecke in the Department of Public Works at 419-627-5884 or by Email.

HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR WATER LINE MATERIALTo complete the survey, you'll need to determine if you have a lead, galvanized steel, copper, or plastic service line.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED- Flathead-screwdriver, or coin

- Refrigerator magnet
CHECK YOUR SERVICE LINE1. Find the water service line entering your house as close as possible to the point of entry (where is this located?)
2. Use the flathead screwdriver or coin to carefully scratch the pipe surface.
3. Compare the lines in your home to the line descriptions listed in the illustrations.
4. Snap a photo of the line.
5. Complete the survey.

Lead Pipes Copper Pipes Galvanized Steel Pipes
Lead Copper Galvanized Steel
Lead pipe example 2 Copper 2 Galvanized 2
The Scratch Test:
  • If the scratched area is SHINY and SILVER, your service line is LEAD.
The Scratch Test:
  • If the scratched area is COPPER in COLOR, like a penny, your service line is COPPER.
The Scratch Test:
  • If the scratched area is DULL and GRAY, your service line is GALVANIZED STEEL.
The Magnet Test:
  • A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.
The Magnet Test:
  • A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.
The Magnet Test:
  • A magnet will stick to a galvanized pipe.
The Tapping Test:
  • Tapping a lead pipe with a coin will produce a dull noise.
The Tapping Test:
  • Tapping a copper pipe with a coin will produce a metallic ringing noise.
The Tapping Test:
  • Tapping a galvanized pipe with a coin will produce a metallic ringing noise.

Water service lines are usually located in one of three places:

  • BASEMENT    The incoming water service in your home can either come from the basement floor or from within the basement wall.
  • CRAWLSPACE     If you have a crawlspace, the water service line should route through your foundation and enter from the floor.
  • SLAB      If your home is on a slab, the incoming water service should come up through the main floor (typically in a utility closet).
House Graphic (1)

Lead In Drinking Water
What is lead?
Lead is a common naturally occurring metallic element that can be found in air, soil, and water. It is also a powerful toxin that is harmful to human health. Lead was commonly used in gasoline and paint until the 1970s and is still sometimes found in products such as ceramics, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics. Lead has historically been used in plumbing because of its pliability and resistance to leaks up until the last 50 years when the risk to public health was more recognized and measures taken to limit its use.
What causes lead in drinking water?
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water supplies such as rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome plated brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect your house to the water main (service lines). Federal laws passed in 1986 and 2014 reduced the amount of lead that can be used in plumbing materials to 0.25% of the wetted surface, but did not require replacement of existing plumbing or services containing lead.
Does Sandusky have lead in its drinking water?

The City of Sandusky conducts routine testing to ensure that our water meets all state and federal water quality requirements. Lead is not detected in City drinking water when it leaves the treatment plant and there is no current concern about lead at large in our water system.

Lead contamination of drinking water is often the result of corrosion in the plumbing or water service lines belonging to water customers. The Sandusky water plant treats water to prevent corrosion and leaching of lead into the water supply.

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The City of Sandusky is responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in customer plumbing components.

The City of Sandusky's water supply has met state and federal water quality standards. You can review our 2023 Water Quality Report online.

What are potential health effects of lead?
Lead can cause health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain to lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults.
What are the EPA regulatory changes for drinking water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first established a lead and copper rule in 1991 to help reduce exposure and associated health effects from lead in drinking water. EPA revised the rule in 2021, requiring water service providers across the country to determine where lead pipes exist in their systems, including the pipes on the customer side, by 2024.
What is the City of Sandusky doing to meet these requirements?
The City is in the process of inventorying all of our infrastructure, including customers’ service line materials that are connected to the public system. The City has also developed a Survey customers can use to report if they have lead or galvanized service lines. Identifying where lead or galvanized metal pipes exist on the customer side can help the City determine where lead may exist in the water system. 
Where can I find more information about lead in drinking water?
What happens if I have lead pipes in my house?
It is important to note that if you find lead in your home or business, or if the city finds a lead service line leading to a customer’s water meter, it does not mean anyone has been exposed to lead.  Sandusky uses an effective corrosion control program that greatly reduces the possibility that lead from service lines could end up in the drinking water.  

If it is discovered that your water service line is lead, either by city staff or a customer evaluation, city staff will verify results and notify you as replacement plans are further developed. The City is currently assessing potential funding assistance options for lead service line replacement if needed. The City will continue to update the community on lead service line funding assistance as information becomes available.

How to reduce lead exposure
If your water has gone unused for more than 6 hours, run any faucet used for drinking or cooking until it is consistently cold (usually about 30 seconds to 2 minutes) before drinking or cooking with it. The flushing of your tap ensures the best quality water.

Use only cold water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula/food for infants.

Please note that boiling water does not eliminate lead. If there is lead in your water, boiling it will increase lead levels.

You may also opt to use a water filter that meets the standard for effective lead reduction.

Be careful of places you may find lead in your home. Some household items such as pottery, makeup, toys, and jewelry may contain lead. Lead paint was outlawed in 1978, but paint, soil, and dust from homes that still have lead paint are the most common source of exposure to lead. Therefore, make sure to wash your children's hands and toys often as they come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead.

The Erie County Health Department has grant funding available for lead removal through their Lead Hazard and Healthy Homes program. Visit their website for more information.