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Replacing Lead Service Lines

Help get the lead out

The primary source of lead in drinking water is water service lines that contain lead. In Denver Water’s experience, homes built before 1951 are more likely to have lead service lines. Denver Water will replace any customer-owned lead service line with a copper water line, at no direct charge to the customer, when discovered during routine pipe replacement work.

Customers who have lead service lines are also enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program. As part of the program, Denver Water will replace customer-owned lead service lines with copper service lines at no direct charge to the customer. Denver Water estimates there are 64,000-84,000 properties that may have lead service lines in its service area. It will take 15 years to replace all of them.

Replace, don’t repair

If a lead service line has a leak, it should be replaced with copper in full, not just repaired. It's important to know the appropriate scope of work required to safely replace a service line.

Steps for professional service line replacement

  1. Obtain permits from Denver Water and the local permitting office.
  2. Call Water Sales Administration at 303-628-6100 to schedule a tap cut at the main.
  3. Excavate.
  4. Replace the existing water supply pipe from the main to the water shutoff inside the home foundation using a continuous type K copper pipe (see Denver Water's Engineering Standards). If the indoor main water shutoff shows signs of deterioration or malfunction, replace it. When connecting a copper pipe to galvanized steel, be sure to use a dielectric union.
  5. Do not use splices or solder joints. Use lead-free bronze for all fittings at the meter, including the yoke.
  6. Backfill and compact excavations to standard.
  7. Replace the meter pit with new approved material (see the Engineering Standards).
  8. Schedule and pass all inspections. Contractors are responsible for rework.

Please encourage customers to flush their faucets after lead service line replacement:

Lead flushing instructions

Technical resources & contact information

For technical questions or to request copies of our handouts for customers, email [email protected] or call 303-628-6565.