Lead and Water
# 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
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.