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Lead and Water     Faucet with water glass image                       

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 service lines from the 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.   


Lead Service Line Replacement FAQ
Preguntas y respuestas frecuentes sobre las lineas de servicio de plomo

What are all of the sources of lead?  

Does my property have a lead service line?

How do I test my service line to see if it is made of lead?

What does a lead service line look like?   

What should I know about lead service lines?

How does corrosion control reduce the risk of lead in water?

Should I use a water filter?

Where can I find a list of filters to remove lead and other metals?

Ejemplos De Filtros Que Remueven Plomo Del Agua Para Su Hogar

Do I qualify for a filter from the health department or a community organization?
Call the hotline (414) 286-8800

How do I use a water filter?

How do I protect my family from lead in my home?

Proteja a Su Familia Contra el Plomo en el Hogar

How do healthy habits help reduce the risk of lead exposure? 

What is the Milwaukee program to replace lead service lines? 

Programa de reemplazo de la línea de servicio de plomo

What is the national AWWA standard for replacing and flushing lead service lines?                 

Report a problem -- Ask a question

Customer Service Center

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


 (414) 286-2830

24-Hour Control Center  

 (414) 286-3710


 (414) 286-8801


 (414) 286-5452

Email (non-emergency)


News Media
Sandy Rusch Walton     

(414) 286-3261

U.S. Mail 

P.O. Box 3268
Milwaukee, WI

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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