Lead Service Line Replacement Program


The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) estimates there are more than 80,000 lead service lines delivering water to homes in Detroit. In the city of Detroit, lead service lines are most likely to be found in single family homes built before 1945.

The water leaving the treatment plants that serve the city of Detroit does not contain lead, but lead can be released into drinking water from corrosion in lead service lines and household plumbing that contains lead. The water provided to DWSD customers contains a corrosion inhibitor to reduce corrosion of lead and other pipe materials into drinking water. If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health and developmental problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Since 2018, DWSD has been working to verify lead service lines and replace them as part of the Asset Management Program.


What is a water service line and who is responsible?

Service Line Inventory

DWSD is improving its service line inventory to confirm the locations and numbers throughout the city. DWSD is reviewing existing DWSD records, coordinating with other city departments that conduct building inspections, and collecting service line information during meter visits to customers’ homes to identify service line material, and when replacing water mains each curbstop is dug up to reveal the current service line material. Per the revised Michigan Lead and Copper Rule, DWSD submitted the preliminary inventory by the January 2020 deadline to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Also, each water utility has until 2025 to provide its entire service line inventory to EGLE.

Lead Service Line Replacement

While DWSD is on a block replacing a water main, it will identify which service lines are made of lead. With homeowner or occupant permission, the DWSD contractor will replace the lead service line at no cost to the property owner.

  • Do I have a lead service line? Use this online tool to find out.
  • How can I get my water tested? DWSD, in partnership with the Great Lakes Water Authority, will test for lead in the water at no charge at homes where a child has tested positive for elevated blood lead levels, or when DWSD is replacing a lead service line. Learn more at the Lead and Water Testing page, submit this online form or complete and download this form.
  • When can I get my lead service line replaced? DWSD will replace the lead service line, with homeowner/occupant permission, when workers on the same block replacing the water main. You may review the lead service line replacement information packet and sign the agreement in advance of the work.
  • How will I know if my street is next? DWSD typically plans water main replacement projects at least one year prior to doing the work, unless it's an emergency replacement. At least 40 days from the construction start, DWSD will reach out to residents and businesses with notifications.

Lead Testing

DWSD will test for lead in the water at no charge at homes where a child has tested positive for elevated blood lead levels, or when DWSD is replacing a lead service line. If a child in your home has an elevated blood lead level, please call the Detroit Health Department at 313-876-0133 for support and to request a test for lead in the water. If DWSD is replacing a lead service line at your home you will be contacted directly for sampling opportunities. Customers may also request a test for lead in water by completing a 

Lead and Copper Sample Request Form

. The participating household must collect the tap water sample by adhering to the provided instructions.  Any home where a collected sample has over 10 parts per billion of lead will be provided a water filter that meets the ANSI/NSF 53 standard for lead removal.