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Lead and Water     Faucet with water glass image                       

# of Lead Service Lines replaced to date in 2018 = 656

# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2017 = 621

No amount of lead is safe. In 1991, the US EPA introduced the Lead Copper Rule (LCR) as a means to regulate lead and copper in drinking water. In compliance with this rule, and under the direction of the EPA and Wisconsin DNR, Milwaukee Water Works implemented corrosion control in 1996 to reduce lead and copper in tap water. Optimized corrosion control is achieved by adding orthophosphate, which coats the pipes and significantly reduces lead and copper from leaching into tap water.

Since the addition of corrosion control in 1996, lead levels have decreased by more than 50% in Milwaukee. Shown below are the 90th percentile and median lead levels from Milwaukee EPA Lead & Copper Rule compliance sampling beginning in 1993. Note the drop in lead levels after optimized corrosion control treatment began in 1996. 

Milwaukee water is in compliance with EPA rules for lead

chart shows lead decrease
Milwaukee's water quality meets federal and state quality regulations when it flows from our treatment plants. However, lead is often present in drinking water because the service line connecting the cast iron water main to the property meter and interior plumbing may contain lead. Lead can be unsafe, especially to very young children, when it is swallowed or breathed in. The City of Milwaukee is investing in your health by implementing a program to replace lead service lines throughout the city. Water mains are not made of lead. 


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Customer Service Center

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway, Room 406
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Open Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 3268, Milwaukee, WI 53201-3268

Telephone

 (414) 286-2830

24-Hour Control Center  

 (414) 286-3710

TDD 

 (414) 286-8801

Fax 

 (414) 286-5452

Email (non-emergency)

 

News Media Inquiries, contact
Sandy Rusch Walton     

(414) 286-3261

Lead-Safe Mke    Espanol LeadSafe Milwaukee

A Sept 2017 EPA report quantified and compared contributions of lead from air, soil/dust, water and food to children's blood lead levels.

Children living in older homes with lead-based paint hazards by far have the most exposure to lead. For 1- to 6- year olds in the top 90-100 percentile, more than 70% of the lead in their blood was from soil and dust.

The contribution of lead from food was 20% and drinking water was 10%. For infants, soil and dust contribute to 50% of the lead in blood, while 40% was from water and 10% from food.

The EPA is evaluating approaches to setting a health-based benchmark for lead in drinking water. 

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