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Milwaukee Water Works
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Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) started systematically replacing lead service lines in 2017. Click here for a one-page fact sheet about our Lead Service Line Replacement Program.
Milwaukee faces continued challenges of limited funding and contractor capacity needed to replace the remaining 66,600 active residential lead service lines in the City of Milwaukee. Federal funding through the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act will bring an estimated $50 million a year to Wisconsin between 2023 and 2027, which is expected boost ongoing efforts to replace lead service lines.The total cost to replace all of Milwaukee's lead service lines is estimated at around $750 million, based on current costs.
Milwaukee Code of Ordinances § 225-22.5 requires a full replacement of the lead service line, with copper, from the water main that runs under the street to the curb stop (city-owned) and from the curb stop to the meter (customer-owned) in the following situations:
• Child Care Facilities. A licensed group child care center, a licensed family day care center, or a certified child care home.
• Emergencies. When a leak or failure is found on either the customer-owned section or the city-owned section of the lead service line.
• Road reconstruction projects. When the city-owned section is replaced for any reason, including water main replacement or road reconstruction projects.
Testing of a home's water supply for lead is available to prior to and following each lead service line replacement.
Who pays for the Lead Service Line (LSL) replacement when replacement is required by the City of Milwaukee Ordinance?
The total cost to replace a lead service line is about $10,200 (the average price fluctuates from year to year). The public side (from the water main to the curb) costs about $5100 and the private side (from the curb to the water meter inside a home) costs about $5100.
For required LSL replacements:
For voluntary, owner-initiated LSL replacements:
When a lead service line replacement occurs:
Milwauke Water Works will provide: 1) instructions for how to propertly flush plumbing, and 2) a voucher for a filter pitcher and replacement cartridges to the customer(s) at a property. The filter is to be used for drinking and cooking water while construction work is ongoing, and up to 30 days after the project is completed.
Filters are also provided in the following situations:
A Department of Public Works sewer replacement or street reconstruction is proximate to a property with a lead service line.
If a property has a lead service line, internal plumbing may also be made of lead. Property owners may want to hire a licensed plumber to replace their internal plumbing, in addition to replacing the lead service line.
There is no safe level of lead in the body. Click here to find out more about lead from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Milwaukee Water Works has been adding orthophosphate to Milwaukee's water since 1996.
Click here to read our corrosion control report presented to the Common Council on March 1, 2022.
The below graph shows the 90th percentile and median lead levels from Milwaukee EPA Lead and Copper Rule compliance sampling beginning in 1993. You can see how lead levels dropped after corrosion control began. The 90th percentile refers to 90% of water samples taken at more than 50 sites across the City
Households with lead service lines whose occupants include the following persons should drink and cook only with tap water filtered with an NSF 53 certified filter:
Households with individuals in the above groups are eligible for a free NSF 53 certfified filter from the Milwaukee Health Department, (414) 286-2165.
Recommendations for all who have a lead service line:
Lead Service Line Replacement data:
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2022 = 481*
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2021 = 985
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2020 = 888
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2019 = 1,000
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2018 = 933
# of Lead Service Lines replaced in 2017 = 622
Total: 2017 - 2022* = 4,909
* 2022 figures reflect work completed as of 6/15/22
Check our records to see if a property has a lead service line
Nutrition and health
Click below for helpful documents that you can print at home:
Lead-Safe Water Guide brochure
Guía del agua sin peligro de plomo
Ask a Question -- Report a problem
24-Hour Control Center
Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, Room 406, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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.
Together, Let's Get the Lead Out
The Milwaukee Region blends urban living with Midwest ambiance to create the ideal environment in which to make a living and live your life. Our career opportunities, low commute times, diverse neighborhoods, affordable housing, abundant recreational choices and excellent schools may amaze you at first – but you'll get used to them.
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