Lead Service Line Replacement Program

The largest opportunity to reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water is to remove the lead service line that brings water to your home from the water main in the street. The City of Newark has initiated a Lead Service Line Replacement Program that will remove 15,000 lead service lines over the next eight years.

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About the Program

Newark has planned a multi-year Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Program with the goal of removing all the lead service lines in the water system. Construction for the first phase of this program commenced in March 2019. The program will remove 15,000 lead services lines and replace them with copper pipes.

Typically, the cost of replacing a lead service line ranges from between $5,000 and $10,000. Under Newark’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program, lead service lines will be replaced at no cost to the homeowner.

This page provides guidance on how to determine if you have a lead service line. It also provides additional information on the Lead Service Line Replacement Program and actions homeowners need to take to enroll in the program.

Lead Service Line Replacements


What is a water service line and who owns it?

A water service line is the pipe that runs from the water main to a home or building’s internal plumbing. They are the pipes that carry water from the City’s water main in the street into homes and other buildings. The water service lines in Newark are owned by the individual property owners, from the water main in the street to the water meter in the home.

What is a lead service line?

A lead service line is a water service line that is completely or partially made of lead components. In Newark, property owners own the entire lead service line.

What is a full lead service line replacement?

A full lead service line replacement (LSLR) involves elimination of all lead pipe between the water main in the street and the water meter in your house. The entire lead service line is replaced with a copper service line.

What is a partial lead service line replacement?

A partial lead service line replacement (LSLR) involves elimination of the lead pipe between the water main in the street and the curb box located in the sidewalk in front of your home. This is a shorter length of pipe.

How do I know if I have a lead service line at my location?

You (or your landlord) can perform a visual inspection on your lead service line to find out if you have a copper, lead or galvanized steel service on your property. Inspect the water service line pipe that enters inside your home and connects to your water meter. Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color, very soft and you can easily scratch them with a key or coin. If a pipe is made of lead, the area scratched will turn a bright silver color. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and be careful not to puncture a hole in the pipe.

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Check Your Line


How do I check my service line’s material?

To find out if you have a copper, lead or galvanized steel service on your property, you (or your landlord) can perform a Materials Verification Test on the water service line where it connects to the water meter to determine the material of the water service line on your property.

Please follow the steps below, and then send the results of the test along with your address to info@newarkleadserviceline.com. The City of Newark will include your results in their water service line inventory records.

What You Need

  • A house key or coin

  • A strong refrigerator magnet

Steps to Check Your Service Line

  1. Find the water meter on your property.

  2. Look for the pipe that comes through the outside wall of your home and connects to your meter.

  3. Use a key or coin to gently scratch the pipe (like you would scratch a lottery ticket). If the pipe is painted, use sandpaper to expose the metal first.

  4. Place the magnet on the pipe to see if it sticks to the pipe.

  5. Determine your pipe material and send your results and address to info@newarkleadserviceline.com

Your Test Results

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If your pipe is copper:
The pipe may appear dull brown on the outside but will be the color of a bright penny if gently scratched. A magnet won’t stick to a copper pipe.

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If your pipe is lead:
The pipe will appear dull and soft but will turn a shiny silver color when scratched. A magnet won’t stick to a lead pipe.

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If your pipe is galvanized steel:
The scratched area will remain a dull gray, and a magnet will stick to the surface. If you have a galvanized steel pipe, you may still have a lead gooseneck on your service line.

Please send your results and address to info@newarkleadserviceline.com

I performed a visual inspection of my lead service line. What if I am still not sure about my lead service line material?

If you tested your water service line, and are still unsure of your lead service line material, the City will visit your home to inspect your service line at no cost to you. To schedule an inspection, contact the Lead Service Line Replacement Team at (973) 733-6303 or email waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us

Are there other ways I can check to see if I have a lead service line?

For more information on identifying a lead service line, including NPR’s interactive tool for lead pipe identification, visit https://www.lslr-collaborative.org/identifying-service-line-material.html

Lead test kits to test the pipe can be purchased at your local hardware store. Look for an EPA recognized kit. You can purchase an EPA-approved lead test kit at https://www.epa.gov/lead/lead-test-kits or https://www.amazon.com/dp/b008bk15pu

For questions about lead in water or testing your water service line, contact the Lead Service Line Replacement Team at (973) 733-6303 or email waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us

Replacing Your Lead Service Line


I received a notice to have my lead service line replaced – what should I do?

If you recently received a notification to have your lead service line replaced, please complete the form provided with the letter, submit an online form, call at (973) 733-6303, or email waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us

I registered for the lead service line replacement program. When will my service line be replaced?

Your service line replacement schedule depends on when you registered for the program and which phase of the construction program you are assigned to. The selected contractor for the replacement will be contacting you to schedule the replacement date at the appropriate time. The City encourages you to submit your registration form at your earliest opportunity. A registration form must be submitted by the homeowner to be included in the program.

How much will the replacement cost?

The cost to replace a service line typically ranges from $5,000 to $10,000.

Under this program, the city is offering to replace your lead service line at no cost.

What should I do after my lead service line is replaced?

The disruption to your service to remove and replace your lead service can temporarily affect your water quality, including increasing lead levels for a short time because the pipes have been disturbed.

After an initial flush of the replaced service line is completed by the contractor, remove the faucet aerators from all cold water taps in the home and fully open the water taps throughout the home for 30 minutes, starting at the lowest level. Be sure to include bathtubs and showers. When the last cold water tap on the highest level has flushed for 30 minutes, turn off each tap starting from the highest level of the home.

Always use fresh, cold, running water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.

Regularly change or clean out all faucet screens and aerators. Contact the Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities at (973) 733-6303 or email waterandsewer@ci.newark.nj.us to get your water tested after replacement of your lead service line.

If my lead service line is replaced, will all of the lead from in my drinking water be removed?

No. If you live in a home that was built prior to 1986, it is possible that lead solder was used at the joints of your interior piping. If you suspect that you have lead solder based on the age of your home, flush your water for approximately 1 to 3 minutes when the water system has not been used for more than 6 hours.

Many homes and buildings, especially those built before 1989, may have service lines and/or internal plumbing and fixtures that are made of or contain lead.