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Testing Your Water for Lead

If you received a lead testing kit from Denver Water, this page will guide you on the following:

  • Why you received the kit.
  • How to collect water samples.
  • How to return water samples.
  • What your test results mean.

Or, if you want to know whether your home’s plumbing or water service line contains lead and you have not completed a test, you can request a free lead test. 

These kits only test for lead in drinking water in your home. The water Denver Water provides to homes and businesses is lead-free, but lead can get into the water as it moves through customer-owned water service lines and plumbing that contain lead. To read more about our water sources and quality, check out our water quality report. 

Help us help you

What best describes your situation?

Denver Water sent me a water test kit. (I did not request one originally and my service line has not been replaced.)

Why did I get a kit?

Either of these two scenarios may apply:

  1. If you are enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program, Denver Water is sending water test kits to customers to help confirm if the property has a water service line containing lead. Denver Water needs your help to determine if you have a lead service line so that, if you do, we can replace it with a lead-free line at no charge to you.
  2. If you are not enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program and received a water test kit, it is unlikely you have a lead service line. But we still need your help. Testing water samples from properties in and out of the program helps refine our program tools and plan future work for the program.

How do I collect samples?

Follow the steps below to collect samples of your water for analysis. Note: If you are in a multiunit property, your water test kit will have only one bottle instead of three.

Step 1 — Complete the Chain of Custody Card

  1. Completely fill out the area labeled “To Be Filled Out By Resident”. Please be sure to circle where your sample was collected, otherwise the sample cannot be processed.
  2. Confirm that your telephone number is correct. If it is not, please update.
  3. All customer information and fields in red must be correctly filled out on the chain of custody card for your samples to be processed. Samples with incorrect or missing information will not be processed.

Step 2 — Timing is Everything

  1. Before collecting samples, review the time requirements and plan accordingly.
  2. For accurate results, water must sit completely undisturbed in your home’s pipes for at least six hours. Do not use any water during this time, do not flush toilets or turn on the faucet to get a drink. Turn off icemakers, sprinkler systems, dishwashers and washing machines.

Step 3 — Sampling Location

  1. Choose ONE location (the bathroom or the kitchen) to collect ALL three water samples.
  2. Use the cold-water faucet at your chosen location (the bathroom or the kitchen).
  3. NOTE: Use a faucet that does not have a water filter and is not connected to a home water treatment system, such as a softener. Water samples from faucets connected to a filter or home water treatment system will not accurately reflect the absence or presence of lead in your home’s drinking water.

Step 4 — Begin Sample Collection

  1. This will be the first time you use any water in your home after the six-hour waiting period.
  2. Remove the lids of the collection bottles.
  3. Place bottle #1 under the faucet.

Step 5 — Fill Bottles

  1. Turn on the cold water and adjust the flow for normal use.
  2. Fill bottles to the top shoulder of the bottle, where it curves toward the top of the bottle. Do not allow the bottle to overflow.
  3. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #2 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).
  4. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #3 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).

Step 6 — Close and Seal

  1. Replace the lids on each bottle and tighten securely.
  2. Place the included tamper seal over the cap of each bottle.

You can also watch a video (single-family home or multiunit residence) on how to collect your samples properly.

When and how do I return samples for analysis?

  1. Place all three sealed bottles and the Chain of Custody card into the box.
  2. Place the return shipping label on top of the original mailing label.
  3. NOTE: Your samples must be returned within 48 hours of collection in order to provide accurate test results. To return your samples to the lab for testing, place the kit in your mailbox or drop it off at your nearest United States Postal Service location. You may also arrange a pickup at USPS.com or call 1-877-275-8777.

My service line was replaced through the Lead Reduction Program and I got a post-replacement test kit.

If you are enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program AND your line has been replaced, we may have offered or sent you a water test kit to help confirm that your lead levels have been reduced.

How do I collect samples?

Follow the steps below to collect samples of your water for analysis. Note: If you are in a multiunit property, your water test kit will have only one bottle instead of three.

Step 1 — Complete the Chain of Custody Card

  1. Completely fill out the area labeled “To Be Filled Out By Resident”. Please be sure to circle where your sample was collected, otherwise the sample cannot be processed.
  2. Confirm that your telephone number is correct. If it is not, please update.
  3. All customer information and fields in red must be correctly filled out on the chain of custody card for your samples to be processed. Samples with incorrect or missing information will not be processed.

Step 2 — Timing is Everything

  1. Before collecting samples, review the time requirements and plan accordingly.
  2. For accurate results, water must sit completely undisturbed in your home’s pipes for at least six hours. Do not use any water during this time, do not flush toilets or turn on the faucet to get a drink. Turn off icemakers, sprinkler systems, dishwashers and washing machines.

Step 3 — Sampling Location

  1. Choose ONE location (the bathroom or the kitchen) to collect ALL three water samples.
  2. Use the cold-water faucet at your chosen location (the bathroom or the kitchen).
  3. NOTE: Use a faucet that does not have a water filter and is not connected to a home water treatment system, such as a softener. Water samples from faucets connected to a filter or home water treatment system will not accurately reflect the absence or presence of lead in your home’s drinking water.

Step 4 — Begin Sample Collection

  1. This will be the first time you use any water in your home after the six-hour waiting period.
  2. Remove the lids of the collection bottles.
  3. Place bottle #1 under the faucet.

Step 5 — Fill Bottles

  1. Turn on the cold water and adjust the flow for normal use.
  2. Fill bottles to the top shoulder of the bottle, where it curves toward the top of the bottle. Do not allow the bottle to overflow.
  3. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #2 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).
  4. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #3 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).

Step 6 — Close and Seal

  1. Replace the lids on each bottle and tighten securely.
  2. Place the included tamper seal over the cap of each bottle.

You can also watch a video (single-family home or multiunit residence) on how to collect your samples properly.

When and how do I return samples for analysis?

  1. Place all three sealed bottles and the Chain of Custody card into the box.
  2. Place the return shipping label on top of the original mailing label.
  3. NOTE: Your samples must be returned within 48 hours of collection in order to provide accurate test results. To return your samples to the lab for testing, place the kit in your mailbox or drop it off at your nearest United States Postal Service location. You may also arrange a pickup at USPS.com or call 1-877-275-8777.

I requested a water test kit.

Customers may request a free lead test kit from Denver Water. These water test kits only test for lead in drinking water. The water Denver Water provides to homes and businesses is lead-free, but lead can get into the water as it moves through customer-owned water service lines and plumbing that contain lead. To find out about what is in the water that Denver Water delivers to your home, check out our Water Quality report.

How do I collect samples?

Follow the steps below to collect samples of your water for analysis. Note: If you are in a multiunit property, your water test kit will have only one bottle instead of three.

Step 1 — Complete the Chain of Custody Card

  1. Completely fill out the area labeled “To Be Filled Out By Resident”. Please be sure to circle where your sample was collected, otherwise the sample cannot be processed.
  2. Confirm that your telephone number is correct. If it is not, please update.
  3. All customer information and fields in red must be correctly filled out on the chain of custody card for your samples to be processed. Samples with incorrect or missing information will not be processed.

Step 2 — Timing is Everything

  1. Before collecting samples, review the time requirements and plan accordingly.
  2. For accurate results, water must sit completely undisturbed in your home’s pipes for at least six hours. Do not use any water during this time, do not flush toilets or turn on the faucet to get a drink. Turn off icemakers, sprinkler systems, dishwashers and washing machines.

Step 3 — Sampling Location

  1. Choose ONE location (the bathroom or the kitchen) to collect ALL three water samples.
  2. Use the cold-water faucet at your chosen location (the bathroom or the kitchen).
  3. NOTE: Use a faucet that does not have a water filter and is not connected to a home water treatment system, such as a softener. Water samples from faucets connected to a filter or home water treatment system will not accurately reflect the absence or presence of lead in your home’s drinking water.

Step 4 — Begin Sample Collection

  1. This will be the first time you use any water in your home after the six-hour waiting period.
  2. Remove the lids of the collection bottles.
  3. Place bottle #1 under the faucet.

Step 5 — Fill Bottles

  1. Turn on the cold water and adjust the flow for normal use.
  2. Fill bottles to the top shoulder of the bottle, where it curves toward the top of the bottle. Do not allow the bottle to overflow.
  3. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #2 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).
  4. Leave water running and wait 25 seconds before filling bottle #3 (if you received multiple bottles in your water test kit).

Step 6 — Close and Seal

  1. Replace the lids on each bottle and tighten securely.
  2. Place the included tamper seal over the cap of each bottle.

You can also watch a video (single-family home or multiunit residence) on how to collect your samples properly.

When and how do I return samples for analysis? (This is specifically for customers who requested water test kit.)

  1. Place all three sealed bottles and the Chain of Custody card into the box.
  2. Return your samples within 48 hours.
  3. Arrange for free courier service to pick up your samples and deliver them to the lab. Call QuickSilver Courier at 303-232-5800 to schedule the pickup Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Provide account #DE7121.

I got my results. What do they mean?

If you received a water test kit result from Denver Water, this page will guide you through what the results mean and how you can protect yourself and your family from the potential risk of lead exposure.

The water tests detect the presence of lead in drinking water in measurements of micrograms per liter (µg/L) which is also known as parts per billion (ppb). For context, 1 µg/L is like saying approximately 1 drop of water in 13,200 gallons.

Water tests are one of several investigative methods used to confirm if a property has a lead service line. Test results are combined with information from these other methods to determine the material of a service line.

If you would like to confirm your property’s status in the Lead Reduction Program, you can enter your address on this map. If you do have a service line that contains lead, Denver Water will replace your service line at no charge to you.

Example of Result Table

(µg/L is also known as parts per billion)
Sample Description Result What does it mean?
1st Bottle — Kitchen 1.0 µg/L Bottle 1 results may indicate the faucet and/or pipes and plumbing materials connected to the faucet may contain lead.

If the result is at or above 1 µg/L this indicates that there is a likelihood that your household plumbing, faucets, or fixture where the sample was collected from may contain lead.

If the result is less than 1 µg/L this indicates it is unlikely that you have lead in this faucet and/or pipes and plumbing connected to the faucet.
2nd Bottle — Kitchen <1.0 µg/L Bottle 2 results may be associated with household plumbing.

If the result is at or above 1 µg/L this indicates that there is a likelihood that your household plumbing material may contain lead.

If the results is less than 1 µg/L this indicates that it is unlikely that you have lead in your household plumbing.
3rd Bottle — Kitchen <1.0 µg/L Bottle 3 results may be associated with lead that may be released from your water service line.

If the result is at or above 1 µg/L this indicates that there is a likelihood that your water service line material may contain lead.

If the result is less than 1 µg/L this indicates that it is unlikely that you have lead in your water service line.

Please note that a result above 1 µg/L is not conclusive of a lead service line and that additional investigation may be needed to confirm your service line material.

Regardless of what your results show, if you are enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program, please continue using filtered water for drinking, cooking and making infant formula until Denver Water notifies you that you have been removed from the program.

Next steps and what you can do to reduce your risk

  • Use filtered water for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula. Remember that boiling the water does not remove lead from the water.
  • If the water has not been used in the home for a few hours, such as first thing in the morning or when getting home from work, run cold water from the kitchen or any bathroom faucet for five minutes. You can also run the dishwasher, take a shower or do a load of laundry to help flush water from your internal plumbing before drinking, cooking or preparing infant formula.
  • Remove and clean the aerators on your faucets, as they may trap lead particles from the plumbing and service line.
  • Replace faucets and indoor plumbing with “lead-free” components.
  • To learn more about other sources of lead and how it relates to your health, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website.


Water Sampling and Testing FAQs

Can I drop my collected water samples off at Denver Water in person? Where can I drop my samples off at?

We do not accept in-person drop-offs of water test samples. Please follow the return instructions included with your sampling kit.

My bottles were delivered last week, or last month, can I still submit the samples using these bottles?

Yes, IF the bottles haven’t been opened.

I filled up these bottles more than 48 hours ago, can I still send them in?

No. In order to obtain accurate results, water samples must be sent back within 48 hours of collection. If more than 48 hours has passed since the bottles were filled, please reach out to Denver Water Customer Care to request a new kit be sent to your address.

The tamper seals were broken or are missing from the bottles in my kit, what should I do?

You are OK. We can process your water samples without the tamper seals. Go ahead and collect your water samples following the instructions. Seal the bottles tightly and send them back to us within 48 hours of collection.

Can I give my test kit to a friend or neighbor so they can test their water?

No. Each sample kit is associated with a specific property, address and identification number. If you know someone who would like to test their water, they can request a lead test kit.