Lead and Copper Service Line Inventory

In January 2017, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to include a mandate for operators of community water systems in the State of Illinois to create a comprehensive service line inventory. This inventory must account for the total number of service lines in the system, the number of lead service lines in the system, and the number of lead service lines replaced the previous year. Moving forward, this inventory must be updated and submitted on or before April 15th each year. 
Service Line Diagram
In an effort to expedite the inventory process, the Village of Western Springs sent each resident a Lead and Copper Service Line Survey at the beginning of November 2017 to promote the self-report of service line information for those residents that are aware of the material composition of their service line. For those residents that are unsure of the type of service their home features, the following education will help to identify key characteristics of both a lead and copper service line. 

Identifying the material composition of your service line

Tools needed: 

  1. a key/coin
  2. a refrigerator magnet
  • Locate the water service line coming into the home. This is typically found in the basement or lowest level of the structure. An inlet valve and the water meter are installed on the pipe after the point of entry. 
  • Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes into the home and the inlet valve. If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of metal. 
  • Use the edge of the key or coin to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe. 
    • LEAD: Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. If the scraped are is shiny and silver, your service line is lead. The refrigerator magnet will not stick to a lead pipe. Lead service lines can also be connected to the residential plumbing using solder and have a characteristic solder "bulb" at the end, a compression fitting, or other connector made of galvanized iron or brass/bronze.
    • COPPER: If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe, either.
    • GALVANIZED: Galvanized piping can also be a dull gray color. If the scraped area remains a dull gray, the refrigerator magnet will typically cling to galvanized pipes.  


Lead Service Line 3