Lead Water Line Information
It is likely that many lead water service lines in Skokie have been replaced with copper since the drinking water system was built in the 1920s. In an effort to expedite verifying the material composition of water lines, the Village of Skokie encourages all property owners to fill out the Water Service Line Material Survey
For more information on lead and how it gets in our drinking water, click here.
For property owners who are unsure of the material composition of the water line connecting your property to the water main, the following instructions will help identify key characteristics of both lead and copper water lines.
Instructions for identifying the material composition of your water service line:
Possible tools needed (some conclusions can be made by observation):
- a key or coin
- a refrigerator magnet
Locate the water service line coming into the property. This is typically found in the basement or lowest level of the structure. The picture below may help to assist with locating the water line point of entry.
Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes into the home and the inlet valve. If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of metal.
Picture displays the typical inlet valve and meter. This photo shows a lead service line. Area to test is the vertical pipe to the bottom right.
Use the edge of the key or coin to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe.
- Copper Water Service Line
If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper service line.
- Lead Water Service Line
If the scraped area is shiny and silver, the service line is lead. The refrigerator magnet will not stick to a lead pipe; however, it will stick to a galvanized connector. If the refrigerator magnet sticks to the connector, the water service line is most likely lead.
In January 2017, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency mandated that community drinking water systems post on their public website an inventory map showing the locations of lead water service lines, and update annually as lead lines are removed from the system and replaced with copper.
Based upon existing data, more than 90% of Skokie water lines connecting properties to water mains are made from lead, and were put in place when the system was built nearly 100 years ago. Although Skokie's drinking water is treated to coat the lines and prevent lead from leaching into the water, the best way to protect drinking water from lead is to replace the lead lines with copper lines.
This map shows the water service line materials of the Skokie drinking water system. Unless the water service line is known to be copper, it is assumed to be lead.
View a copy of the Skokie Water Service Line Map.
Following the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, many water consumers are asking the question: is my drinking water safe? Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of corrosion, or the wearing away, of materials containing lead. For example, lead water service lines, lead solder used to join copper piping, and household plumbing and fixtures (see illustration below).
Read the Lead in Drinking Water information.
View the most recent Skokie Water Quality Report (PDF).