How to Check for a Lead Service Line

If you are not sure if the homeowner portion of your water service line is lead, here is how you can check:

  • Step 1:     Locate the water shutoff valve or water meter in your home. It is usually in the basement.
  • Step 2:    Check the colour of the pipe coming out of the ground and into the meter. You may have to lightly sand the surface with a piece of sandpaper to expose the fresh metal of the pipe.  If the pipe is:
    • Copper (the colour of a Canadian penny): it is likely copper
    • Bluish-green or black:  it is likely plastic
    • Dark grey:  it is likely galvanized iron or lead
  • Step 3:     Check the hardness of the pipe. If you think it could be lead, try etching gently into the pipe. Lead is a relatively soft metal and scratches easily. To avoid damage, do not attempt gentle etching if you think the line could be plastic.



While this checklist and information is a good indicator of whether your pipes are lead, please note that every pipe is a little different. The only way to be sure if you have lead is to have your water tested. If you believe you have a lead service line, contact our Environmental Services department at 780-524-7600.