Lead Service Lines

Water Service Line Material Inventory


The City of Rock Island has partnered with Augustana College to provide professional services related to the development of a Service Line Material Inventory in compliance with the Illinois Public Act 102-0613 (referred to as the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act).

The purpose of the Act is to require the owners and operators of community water supplies to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive water service line material inventory and ultimately after the inventory identifies the objective playing field, a Comprehensive Lead Service Line Replacement Plan.

Phase I is to develop a water service line inventory.  All water customers are required to REPORT YOUR TYPE OF WATER SERVICE LINE This will identify what type of service line material (lead, copper or galvanized) is at each property. 

How do I Determine What Type of Water Service Line I Have?

Find Your Water Service LineSTEP 1.  Find Your Water Service Line - The service line is typically found in the basement.  An "inlet valve" and the water meter are installed on the pipe after the point of entry.  

STEP 2.  Scratch the Surface of the Pipe - Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes into the building and the inlet valve.  If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of the metal.

Water Service Line

STEP 3.  Identify Your Water Service Line - Scratch the surface of the pipe.  Use the flat edge of a screwdriver or another tool (such as a key or coin) to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe.

Compare your pipe to the chart above or below. 

Once you have identified your type of water service line material, REPORT YOUR TYPE OF WATER SERVICE LINE.

If you are unsure of your water service line material, a representative from Augustana College will contact you.  Just add your contact information in the REPORT YOUR TYPE OF WATER SERVICE LINE and request help.

Protecting Our Water Supply

The City of Rock Island recognizes the recent issues of lead around the nation.  We understand that the issue of lead in water supplies is always of concern, especially for pregnant women and children.

Rock Island's water is tested for lead according to federal standards, and during the last testing cycle, our results were below the US Environmental Protection Agency's action level of no more than fifteen parts per billion.

Lead does not come from the treatment plants and water mains; it comes from homes with a lead service line running between the water main in the street and the home, and from plumbing inside the home.

House with Water Main, Service Line, Curb Box, and Water Meter

In our community, to protect our water supply from potential lead contamination, a low-level corrosion inhibitor is added to the water. This additive prevents the dissolving of lead (from home plumbing materials) into the water. We also routinely test for lead in the drinking water at identified high-risk homes. The City of Rock Island is responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components in each home.

When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking. Residents concerned about lead in the water may wish to have their water privately tested.

While the City of Rock Island does not endorse or recommend any particular testing labs, the following are available locally: 
    Quad City Analytical (563-289-3373) provides non-certified testing for residential homes. 
    PDC (309-683-1743) provides certified testing for residential homes.

The City of Rock Island would like to remind and assure residents that the drinking water supplied to residents and businesses in the community is safe and rigorously tested on an ongoing basis. Rock Island’s water supply meets all Illinois Environmental Protection Agency standards and has consistently met these standards for years.

What is lead?

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead can be found in air, soil, dust, food, and water. 

How can I be exposed to lead?

The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. 

What are the risks of lead exposure?

Lead can cause a variety of adverse health effects when people are exposed to it. These effects may include increases in the blood pressure of some adults; delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children; and, deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities in children. 

How does lead get into my drinking water?

Lead is rarely found naturally in our source water or in the treated water flowing through the distribution system. More commonly, lead leaches into water over time through corrosion – a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. The amount of lead in your water depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the water’s corrosivity, and water temperature. EPA Sources of LEAD in Drinking Water

Will my water utility replace my lead service line?

Lead service lines on a customer’s property are not part of the public water system and are the responsibility of the property owner.  Lead service lines are owned and installed at the expense of the property owner. The City of Rock Island strongly advises that you contact a licensed plumber for work on your service line. 

How can I reduce my exposure to lead in my drinking water?

There are many steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water: 

Run your water to flush out lead. If it hasn’t been used for several hours, run the water for three to five minutes to clear most of the lead from the water. To conserve water, remember to catch the flushed tap water for plants or some other household use such as cleaning. 

Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make formula. 

Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead. 

Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris. 

Should I test my children for exposure to lead?

Children at risk of exposure to lead should be tested. Your doctor or local health center can perform a simple blood test to determine your child’s blood-lead level. 

Additional Information

American Water Works Association  

CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program 

CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Data, Statistics, and Surveillance 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 


National Lead Information Center: 800-424-LEAD 

EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 800-426-4791