Lead and Drinking Water

In Philadelphia, the drinking water delivered to your home meets or exceeds state and federal water quality standards. When high lead levels are found in tap water, the lead comes from plumbing on the customer’s property.

Customers should check their homes for lead plumbing. If a lead service line or other lead plumbing is found, there are immediate steps you can take to reduce the chances of lead exposure from water.

Check out the City’s Lead Guide to learn more

Philadelphia’s Lead Guide covers topics about lead in drinking water, including:

  • How lead gets into water
  • Checking your pipes for lead
  • Living with lead pipes

What If I Have Lead Pipes?

Having a lead service line does not mean your home’s water has high levels of lead. Corrosion control treatment, performed in Philadelphia for more than 20 years, has been shown to be effective in keeping lead levels in 90% or more of the city’s homes below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard of fifteen parts per billion (15ppb).

In addition to replacing lead pipes and plumbing, there are immediate steps you can take to reduce the chances of lead exposure related to water use.

Get your water tested

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will conduct free water quality tests for customers with concerns about lead or water quality.

Replace lead service lines

Homeowner Emergency Loan Program (HELP)

The Philadelphia Water Department offers a zero-interest loan for customers interested in replacing a lead service line. See our fact sheet for more information about how the Homeowner Emergency Loan Program (HELP) may be used to replace your lead service line.

Private Contractors

Customers can also contact any licensed and insured plumber and request an estimate for replacing lead service lines and other sources of lead in plumbing. Please note that prices vary according to a number of factors, including how far your home’s water meter is from the City water main.

Free Removal During Water Main Replacement

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will offer to replace any lead service line from the City’s water main all the way to the customer’s meter when we are replacing the water main on your block. PWD will notify residents by letter several months before work is scheduled to begin. 

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