Philadelphia Water Announces Unprecedented Efforts to Help Customers with Lead Pipes

Philadelphia Water works hard to make sure the water we deliver tops all safety standards. Now, we're expanding our efforts to educate customers about lead plumbing and helping customers replace lead pipes. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Philadelphia Water works hard to make sure the water we deliver tops all safety standards. Now, we're expanding our efforts to educate customers about lead plumbing and helping customers replace their lead pipes. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Today, Philadelphia Water let City Council know about robust new efforts to educate customers about plumbing made from lead and announced new, unprecedented efforts that will help our customers get rid of their lead pipes once and for all.

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Debra A. McCarty answered questions and provided detailed information about our history of providing safe water, how we test for lead at customer’s taps, and new efforts to take lead pipes out of homes that will make Philadelphia a national leader on this issue.

We let Councilmembers know about six big things we’re doing right now to take on lead plumbing in Philadelphia:

1. Updating the way we replace our water mains so that we can remove any water service pipes made from lead when we find them and put in new, safer pipes for our customers at no cost to them

2. For homeowners who have a water pipe made of lead and want to replace it, we are planning to offer a zero interest loan that will make it more affordable for customers to replace the pipe

3. Getting more customers to take part in our tap water testing program through better education and outreach

4. Making a list of customer addresses where water distribution pipes made from lead are found so we can better understand the problem

5. Starting a new program that provides a financial incentive to entice homeowners with lead plumbing to take part in our tap water testing program

6. Creating a new, one-stop page at www.Phila.gov/water that has all the information customers need to find out if they have lead plumbing and what they can do if they do find lead pipes in their home

All of these efforts should be in effect within the next few months. In the near future, we will be letting customers with water distribution pipes made from lead know that we will replace the whole pipe—for free —during water main work. Other programs, such as our zero interest loans for replacing water distribution pipes made from lead, will start once regulations are updated.

On a personal note, Commissioner McCarty let Council know that her home in West Philadelphia has a lead water pipe, and that she feels safe drinking her water every day because of the anti-corrosion treatment used by Philadelphia Water. She also follows our tips for getting fresh water right from the water main, which you can read about here.

You can read the complete testimony presented by Commissioner McCarty here. You can also see daily tips for people with water distribution pipes here.

If you have a water distribution pipe (see a plumbing diagram here) made of lead and want to have your water tested or are interested in replacing your lead water service pipe, call 215-685-6300 to sign up for sampling or learn about replacement options.