Lead and Water Testing


The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is required to perform lead and copper testing at residents' water taps every year under the Michigan Lead and Copper Rule (as of 2019). The department takes the quality of its water and service delivery to residential and nonresidential customers very seriously.

Drinking Water Quality: Lead and Copper Resources

  • View the Detroit Water Quality Reports.
  • DWSD will test for lead in the water at no charge at homes where there is a lead service line by completing this online form or printing and mailing this form. To check if you have a lead service line, use these step-by-step instructions.
    • A Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) representative will drop off a sample bottle and instructions to you within three days from receiving your request. The participating household must collect the tap water sample by adhering to the instructions provided. After you get the water sample and call the phone number on the instructions, a GLWA representative will return to pick up the sample and provide the results to you within 10 days.
  • DWSD advises that you not use over-the-counter water sample kits. Over-the-counter kits are not the best method in testing lead in drinking water versus using a testing lab. 
  • If a child in your home has an elevated blood lead level, please call the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-0133. Learn more about lead programs offered by the Detroit Health Department.


What is DWSD doing to replace lead service lines?

In 2018, prior to the revised Michigan Lead and Copper Rule, DWSD began replacing lead service lines as part of its asset management program when on the same street replacing the water main. Extensive outreach, including neighborhood meetings and information packets, to the owner/occupant, is done prior to construction. When the water service line exist underground, the City owns the portion of the service line from the water main to the stopbox (turn-on/off valve typically in the front yard). The property owner is responsible for the service line from the stopbox to inside the house. Therefore, DWSD gets owner/occupant permission to replace lead service lines when its crews encounter them after visually verifying service line material at each house by excavating around the stopbox during scheduled water main replacement. With owner/occupant permission,  the lead service line is replaced with copper at DWSD's expense through its Capital Improvement Program.


What steps can I take to reduce exposure to lead drinking water?

  • Sign up for free lead service line replacement using this form. 
  • Run your water to flush out lead. The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain. Therefore, if you water has not been used for several hours, run the water before using it for drinking or cooking. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. If you do not have a lead service line, run the water for 30 seconds to two minutes, or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature. If you do have a lead service line, run the water for at least five minutes to flush water from both the interior building plumbing and the lead service line.
  • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water.
  • Use only filtered water or bottled water for preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels. in the event DWSD issues a boil water advisory due to low water pressure (such as caused by a large water main break), water users in the designated advisory area will be advised to boil water before using for cooking, drinking, and brushing your teeth. Residents with lead service lines should only boil filtered water - not water directly from the tap.
  • Consider using a filter to reduce lead in drinking water. The Detroit Health Department recommends that any household with a child or pregnant woman use a certified lead filter to reduce lead from their drinking water. Look for filters that are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 for lead reduction. 
NSF Filter logo - NSF/ANSI Standard 53





Some filters options include a pour-through pitcher or faucet-mount systems. If the label does not specifically mention lead reduction, check the Performance Data Sheet included with the device. Be sure to maintain and replace the filter device in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to protect water quality.


  • Get your child tested. Contact the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-0133 or your healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.
  • Identify older plumbing fixtures that likely contain lead. Older faucets, fittings, and valves sold before 2014 may contain higher levels of lead, even if marked "lead-free". Faucets, fittings, and valves sold after January 2014 are required to meet a more restrictive "lead-free" definition but may still contain up to 0.25 percent lead. When purchasing new plumbing materials, it is important to look for materials that are certified to meet NSF standard 61.
  • Clean your aerator. The aerator on the end of your faucet is a screen that will catch debris. This debris could include particulate lead. The aerator should be removed monthly to rinse out any debris.
  • Test your water for lead. To request for your water to be tested, please visit www.detroitmi.gov/leadsafe and search "lead and copper sample request form." If you do not have internet access, please call the Detroit Lead Safe Resource Line at 313-267-8000 and press option 7 for further assistance.