Lead Service Line Replacement and Revised Lead and Copper Rule

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently strengthened its drinking water standards related to lead and copper. (This is called the Lead and Copper Rule Revision.) The revised requirements protect our public health to an even greater degree by reducing exposure to lead in drinking water. Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body. The drinking water provided to residents from the City of Red Wing does not contain lead. However, lead can enter the drinking water from corrosion (the wearing away) of plumbing materials that contain lead. These materials include lead service pipes, lead-based materials (solder) used to join copper pipe, and brass components. These materials were commonly used before 1986.

What You Should Know

As part of the new federal requirements, the City of Red Wing will be inventorying each water service line to determine the pipe’s composition and see if it is lead, galvanized steel, non-lead, or unknown. A service line is the water pipe that connects the water main on your street to the piping inside of your home.

  • Property owners are responsible for maintaining water services lines from the main into the home.
  • If your service pipe is identified as lead or galvanized steel, it will eventually need to be replaced.
Diagram shows water main under street continuing underground until connecting to internal plumbing

The Inventory

The City of Red Wing will be inventorying all the water service lines in Red Wing using multiple tools such as historic records, visual identification, and documentation from replacement projects. Only the size and material of services lines will be identified. This inventory will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health by October 16, 2024. After this date, property owners will be able to access the inventory to find out what material their service line is.

Submit information about your water service using the Service Line Material Form.

Actions You Should Take:

  1. Identify where your water service pipe is located and determine the pipe material using this website.
  2. If you know your pipe is lead or galvanized steel, consider replacing the pipe.
  3. Contact a plumber to ask about the cost to replace your portion of the pipe from the watermain to the inside of your home.
  4. If you’re not sure if your pipe is lead or galvanized steel, contact City staff member Steve Thoms for a site visit.
Types of water pipes descriptions: lead, galvanized, plastic, brass, copper

To make an appointment for a free site visit to your property, or if you have any further questions, please contact Steve Thoms at 651.385.3674 or steve.thoms@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

Lead Service Line Replacement Plan

After the completion of the inventory, the City will develop a lead service line replacement plan that removes and replaces lead service lines.  During a reconstruction project, the City will replace the service line from the water main through the right-of-way, and the property owner will be assessed for that cost. The portion of service line from the right-of-way to inside your home is also the property owner’s responsibility to replace. Much of this replacement work will be in conjunction with street reconstruction projects. To save money on replacement costs, property owners can coordinate the replacement of their private water service with the construction project. Contact Steve Thoms at Red Wing Public Works to coordinate any private plumbing work with a construction project.

Plumbing Fixtures and Faucets

Most faucets purchase before 1997 are made of brass or chrome-plated brass and may contain up to 8% lead. Consider replacing your faucet if it was purchased before this date to reduce your lead exposure. If a faucet has NSF 61/9 stamped on the box, the faucet is lead-free. To learn more, check out the following document.

What Is the City Doing for Our Water?

To help prevent corrosion of pipes and plumbing fixtures, the City Water Treatment Plant Operators carefully monitor the pH and alkalinity of the water that enters the distribution system. Keeping these two parameters at the correct level ensure the water is minimally corrosive to pipes. Chlorine is also added as a disinfectant for additional protection. The City also routinely samples for lead and copper across the city. For more information on lead and copper, visit this webpage.