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Lead and Copper Rule

Drinking Water Asset Management FAQ

Why are lead service lines a problem?
Lead has been used by humans for centuries in products like paint, batteries, gasoline, and plumbing. While it has many beneficial uses, Congress began to pass laws banning the use of lead in certain materials such as lead-based paint (1978) and leaded gasoline (1986) when the negative health effects began to be understood. 
What are the adverse health effects of lead?
Potential health effects of lead:

  • Pregnant women and children 6 years old and younger are most susceptible to the
  • effects of lead.
  • In children, lead can cause impaired mental development, behavioral disorders, lower
  • IQ, hyperactivity, hearing problems, and anemia.
  • In adults, lead can increase blood pressure and cause mental fog.
  • In pregnant women, lead can reduce fetus growth, cause stillbirth and premature birth.
A doctor can measure the amount of lead in your body with a Blood Lead Level (BLL) test. There is no safe amount of lead in blood.
How does lead get into drinking water?
  • Lead mainly enter drinking water from the corrosion of plumbing materials that contain lead or copper.
  • Corrosion is a chemical process that deteriorates certain materials, most commonly metals.
  • The Village of Chesaning’s water treatment process has utilized a corrosion control strategy and has continued to meet EPA regulations in drinking water standards.
  • Common sources of lead in drinking water are illustrated in the image below. 
EPA - Lead in Water Inforgraphic
How do I know if there is lead plumbing in or leading to my home? What should I do if there is?
In general, older homes are more likely to contain some kind of lead plumbing. Even if your home was built more recently, lead fixtures and components may be present in your home. To find out if your home’s plumbing is lead-free, you can refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s brochure “How to Identify Lead Free CertificationMarks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” When replacing your plumbing, be sure to purchase pieces that meet the 2014 lead-free definition.

The underground service lines to your home may also contain lead. The DWAM Grant program is a great opportunity for your service line to be inspected at three (3) different locations. Inspections will occur on both side of the curb stop box and inside your home where the service comes through the wall. If lead is found at your service, the Village
will notify you.  
If I have a lead service line, when will it be replaced?
Once the Village of Chesaning has compiled the comprehensive materials inventory, they will establish a program and schedule for the replacement of all lead service lines as required by the Lead and Copper Rule. This schedule is required to be completed before the year 2040 and should coordinate with other road, water, and sewer improvement and replacement projects. 
What is involved in a lead service line replacement?
  • Complete service line replacement means the Village will dig up and replace the service line from the water main up to the house at no cost to you. (Replacements will include the first 18-inches of piping inside the house.)
  • Partial lead service line (LSL) replacement is no longer allowed except in emergencies. Removing and replacing only a portion of LSLs poses a health risk since construction activities increase exposure to lead. When the ground is disturbed close to your home, the disturbance could cause particles to shake free from inside the network of underground pipes and affect your drinking water quality.
  • You will be contacted by the Village if this work is required on your property.  
Who is responsible for paying for the replacement of a service line found to be lead?
The Village is responsible for replacing the entire service line, from the water main to 18-inches inside the home, if any part of the service is found to have lead. This includes piping, fittings, and soldering at fittings. This replacement is at no cost to the property owner.
If any damage is done to the service line during inspections, who is responsible for fixing it? And when will it be fixed?
The Village is responsible for fixing and damages to a service line that occur while it is being inspected. The Village will work to fix these damages as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The inspections will be done by hydro-excavation. This is a minimally invasive practice that uses pressurized water to loosen the soil and a vacuum to remove the loosened soil creating a hole and exposing the service line. 
Why does the Village need to come onto my private property?
In order to visually inspect the material of the service line or in cases where the entire service line needs to be removed and replaced, Village employees will have to be present on private property. They will also need access to the home to inspect the water meter, which is typically located in the basement, and/or complete the service installation. If the Village does require access to your property or home, they will notify you in advance and coordinate their work with you.
Meanwhile, what can I do to reduce potential exposure to lead from my plumbing?
  • Flush your pipes before drinking or cooking with water. The longer the water sits in the pipes, the more lead it may contain. To do this, let the cold water run for 5-30 seconds. If the pipes have not been used in the last six hours or longer, let the cold water run for at least two minutes.
  • If you have moved into a new home that has been unoccupied for some time, run the cold water on all faucets for five minutes or more.
  • Remove and clean the aerators (screens) on your faucets at least once a month to avoid lead build-up.
  • If you have a water filter, check to see if it is certified for lead removal by calling NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or visit their website at
  • Do not boil water to remove lead; this will actually concentrate the levels of lead in water.
  • Only use cold tap water for drinking and cooking, especially for preparing infant formula.
  • If you have lead plumbing, sign up to participate in water sampling with the Village as a test site for the Lead and Copper rule.
What are the rules about lead? Who enforces them?
In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule (also referred to as the LCR). All community water supplies are subject to the LCR requirements. Since 1991, the LCR has undergone
various revisions. The Village of Chesaning has been complying with the Lead and Copper Rule since it was put in place in 1991.

The EPA works with state governments to enforce the Lead and Copper Rule. Each state or individual communities may put stronger regulations in place, or they may use the regulations set by the EPA.

In June 2018, Michigan revised its Lead and Copper Rule so that it now has the strictest lead action level in the country. Some of the new requirements that Michigan community water supplies must enforce in the coming years include:
  • Established lead action level is reduced from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 12 ppb, effective 2025.
  • Required increased sampling.
  • Increased communication and public outreach.
  • Communities must complete a materials inventory for their water distribution system. This means they will investigate all the service lines in their system to determine if lead is present.
  • Utilities must replace all water service lines that contain lead pipes and fixtures
Why is the Lead and Copper Rule important?
“Even if your community has a water system with effective corrosion control and low drinking water lead levels, lead service lines (LSLs) can contribute unpredictable and variable sources of exposure. For homes with LSLs, the service line typically contributes the greatest percentage of lead to the tap. Lead particulates from an LSL may enter directly into the water people drink or become trapped in the faucet aerator and release lead over time. With the reduction of lead in new plumbing material, the next large opportunity for reducing the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water is the removal of LSLs.” [3] 
What is a service line?
“Service Line” refers to the pipe that runs from the water main through your property and connects to the plumbing in your house. See the image below for clarification.

“Lead Service Line” means a service line that is made of lead or contains lead soldering or fittings somewhere in the line. 
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