Do I Need a Drinking Water Filter?
In Milwaukee, our drinking water is treated to reduce the risk of lead getting into our drinking water, but some older homes still have water pipes, called lead service lines, that bring water into their homes, or plumbing made of lead inside their homes. The City of Milwaukee Health Department recommends that families who live in homes with lead service lines and who have children under the age of 6, pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and breastfeeding women in the home take additional steps to further reduce their risk of lead exposure, including using a drinking water filter certified to remove lead. This is especially important for infants who drink formula made with tap water.
To find out if your home has a lead service line, you can look up your address on the Milwaukee Water Works page or by calling Milwaukee Water Works customer service at (414) 286-2830. For more information on additional steps you can take to reduce your risk of lead exposure through drinking water, visit our Drinking Water Safety page.
What Filters Remove Lead?
Home drinking water filtration systems can reduce or eliminate lead. Be sure to look for products certified by NSF/ANSI under Standard 53 for the removal of lead. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines on the installation and maintenance of the product. Find products certified to remove lead through NSF International or Water Quality Association, or download a list of examples here (Open PDF).
Where can I get a Drinking Water Filter?
Drinking water filters certified to remove lead (look for NSF/ANSI Standard 53) are widely available at hardware and home goods stores, as well as online retailers.
The City of Milwaukee Health Department is offering free drinking water filter starter kits if you meet ANY of the following eligibility criteria:
- City of Milwaukee home with a lead service line AND have at least one of the following in the home: A child under age 6, pregnant or breastfeeding woman, or woman who may become pregnant.
- All City of Milwaukee homes with a 0-6 year old child with a Blood Lead Level of 5 ug/dL or greater.
- All new parents/guardians in high-risk areas for lead poisoning in Milwaukee. Currently the targeted city zip codes with the highest concentration of lead poisoned children are 53204, 53206, 53208, and 53210.
Drinking water filters are included with a free Lead Safe Kit and available at our 841 N Broadway 1st Floor location and with our Community Partners by appointment only. Call City of Milwaukee Home Environmental Health Customer Service line at (414) 286-2165 for your Lead Safe Kit appointment.
All recipients of drinking water filters will be asked to complete a Drinking Water Filter Questionaire.