Lead Service Line Replacement
Lead service lines run from the water main in the street and connect with a home’s internal plumbing. The City provides a subsidy of 2/3 of the cost for the homeowners half of the line, allowing homeowners to distribute the remaining cost on a ten-year payment plan. The City pays for 100% of the cost for the public half of the line.
Milwaukee Water Works has replaced more than 5,000 lead service lines and hopes to expand its lead service line replacement program with new federal funds available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Read more about reducing the risk of lead exposure.
Water Quality Monitoring
Although medical professionals agree that lead paint is the number one cause of elevated blood lead levels, Milwaukee Water Works is doing everything possible to eliminate any risk from lead, no matter how small. Milwaukee applies orthophosphate, which forms a protective barrier inside pipes and prevents corrosion. Water chemistry experts and regulators consider it the best practice for preventing lead from getting into drinking water through lead pipes.
Although testing for PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is not required by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Milwaukee Water Works has been testing for PFAS since 2008. It regularly tests for 45 different PFAS, including both long- and short-chain analytes. Water Works tests Lake Michigan source water, the treated water from both the Linnwood and Howard water treatment plants, and the water in the distribution system at several sites throughout the City.
From billing data, Milwaukee Water Works Customer Service employees identify customers with unusually high water use and advise them on how to find and fix leaks. They then mail customers the Use Water Wisely brochure and toilet leak-detecting dye tabs. Meter Services technicians provide these informational packets as they investigate high water use cases, approximately 100 a month. Toilet leaks are the most common culprit of higher water usage and higher-than-normal bills, followed by leaking faucets, garden hoses and hookups, then shower heads or water heaters. Saving water also helps residents save dollars on their water bills.
Quick Tips: Water your lawn during the coolest parts of the day, hand wash dishes in a sink full of soapy water, and replace fixtures and appliances with those displaying the EPA WaterSense label or Energy Star label. Save both water and energy by installing water-efficient products.