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Lead Reduction Program

Graphical representation of Denver Water's service area

Do I have a lead service line?

Enter your address and the map* will tell you if your home is one of the estimated 64,000 to 84,000 homes with a possible lead service line.

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*We’ve provided a guide on how to use Denver Water’s lead service line replacement map. We suggest viewing the map in Google Chrome. If you are on a mobile phone, you may have to reduce your screen size or view in landscape mode (horizontal) for optimal results. 

Your top questions, answered.

Why are you just telling me now about lead in my home? Shouldn’t you have told me sooner?

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that has been a part of human society for thousands of years. In the water industry, concerns about lead pipes have evolved over decades. Today, scientists and society are more aware than in the past of the dangers posed by the use of lead in paint, gasoline and drinking water infrastructure.

Because property owners, not Denver Water, own water service lines, information on what they are made of has been inconsistent and scattered among a variety of sources. Denver Water has been developing a comprehensive inventory of known and suspected lead services lines using a combination of property records (homes built before 1951 are more likely to have lead service lines in Denver Water’s experience), water quality tests and visual inspections of service lines.

Denver Water has monitored lead levels in customers’ homes for nearly 30 years, in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule. The results of this and other regular, routine testing have been included in annual reports you can find posted on our website, and we notify customers of our annual report in our bill inserts. 

When test results from customers with known lead service lines and plumbing in 2012 indicated lead levels above the EPA’s “action level,” Denver Water informed all customers by mail, including property owners and tenants, and began the largest customer communication and education program in the utility’s 100-year history, sharing information about the sources of lead in drinking water via inserts in monthly bills, on social media, working with local news media, and other avenues. The action level is an indicator that a utility may need to adjust its water treatment to reduce its corrosivity to help minimize the risk of lead getting into drinking water from lead pipes and plumbing in customer homes and buildings. 

We have evolved our approach to lead over the years, including offering free water quality lead tests, replacing lead service lines when we come across them during our own construction and offering a lead service line reimbursement program through DURA. We also worked with health experts at the state and federal levels to develop the Lead Reduction Program, which launched in January 2020, after careful study and community outreach and feedback.

As part of this new program, we are again reaching out to customers who have or may have a lead service line as we begin a 15-year effort to locate and replace the estimated 64,000 to 84,000 lead service lines in our service area. These service lines do not belong to Denver Water, they belong to the property owner, much like a driveway also is the responsibility of the property owner. However, as part of the Lead Reduction Program, these lead service lines will be replaced at no direct charge to the customer. Denver Water is also providing customers in the program with a free pitcher and water filter, as well as replacement filters, to use for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula until six months after their lead service line is replaced.

Keep in mind that having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have elevated levels of lead in your drinking water. Over the years, including as part of the LRP, Denver Water has raised the pH of drinking water, which makes the water less corrosive. This change also strengthens an existing protective coating on the interior of the pipe. The coating reduces the likelihood of lead getting into the water as it passes through customer-owned water service lines, household plumbing and faucets that contain lead.

For more information on other sources of lead and how to read and interpret your water quality test results, click here

Why will it take 15 years to complete the program? Can’t you do it quicker?

Denver Water has been replacing lead service lines for the last few years as these customer-owned lines are discovered during the course of our regular, routine maintenance work on the system. Lead service lines are also replaced as property owners choose to redevelop their properties or replace their old service lines. 

About 1,200 lead service lines were replaced every year through these efforts, indicating it would take several decades to replace the estimated 64,000 to 84,000 lead service lines in Denver Water’s service area. This estimate is based on extensive investigations Denver Water is conducting to identify lead service lines, which to date have been challenging to locate given inconsistent, scattered information because they are owned by each property owner, not Denver Water.

Through the Lead Reduction Program, Denver Water is able to accelerate the pace of replacing customer-owned lead service lines at no direct cost to the customer. Rather than taking several decades to complete this effort, the Lead Reduction Program will replace these lead service lines in 15 years.

Denver Water is currently working to update our online maps to indicate work locations for the Lead Reduction Program as well as other Denver Water construction.

We are committed to improving the process used to determine where to complete work on an annual basis. Because of our commitment to incorporate lessons from our current work into future planning, we are unable to estimate timing beyond the current calendar year.

Denver Water also is piloting a program to help customers who choose to replace their lead service lines at their own expense. Approved applicants can receive a one-time partial reimbursement payment of $3,800. Please review information on our website on the process to replace the lead service line and the application for a reimbursement. Note that lines replaced prior to the program’s launch on April 29, 2020, are not eligible for reimbursement.

Are there loans, grants or other funds available to me to pay for my service line replacement?

Grants and low-interest loans are available for lead service line replacement. For more information and to find out if you qualify, contact Denver Urban Renewal Authority at 303-534-3872, or call the city’s 311 hotline.

When will you be replacing my lead service line?

By the fall of each year, Denver Water plans to have identified work areas for the following year. Several factors drive when and where service lines are replaced. Denver Water prioritizes communities who are most vulnerable and at-risk from lead exposure, particularly infants and children. Areas with large numbers of facilities that serve these populations, such as schools and daycares, are prioritized. Other determining factors include areas with the highest concentration of lead service lines, underserved neighborhoods and coordination with other known construction activity.

Once work areas are identified, Denver Water will determine the timing for individual properties in that work area. Once a property has been identified for a service line replacement, Denver Water will send additional information about the replacement process and next steps. This notification typically comes a month or two before the anticipated replacement date.

Outside of the Lead Reduction Program, Denver Water will also replace any customer-owned lead service line with a copper water line, at no direct charge to the customer, when discovered during a main replacement project.

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