Lead in Drinking Water

The Village is dedicated to providing the highest quality drinking water to its customers in the most reliable and professional manner. The goal of Village officials and staff is to achieve complete consumer confidence in our drinking water supply by maintaining a premier water system and open communication with our customers. The Village of Lombard wants to assure its residents that Lombard’s water is safe to drink and exceeds all Federal and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Standards for drinking water. The most recent water quality report can be found at villageoflombard.org/waterqualityreport.

Important Information About Lead in Drinking Water

Water supplied from the Village of Lombard does NOT contain lead. However, through corrosion of household plumbing materials and fixtures, lead can leach into the water before it gets to you. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead in their plumbing system.

Lombard, like all public water systems, is required to test for lead in drinking water every three years. The next cycle of routine testing for lead is July of 2020. In addition to the required testing, the Utilities Division of the Public Works Department elects to perform additional random water sampling throughout Lombard. We are committed to providing our residents with as much educational information as possible to assist residents in reducing exposure to lead in drinking water. 

When older water service lines or plumbing fixtures are disturbed due to construction or maintenance, lead levels may temporarily increase in water. This disruption may be caused by water main maintenance and/or replacement, or plumbing work done inside your home. To help combat potential lead levels in drinking water, the City of Chicago treats water with a polyphosphate additive that forms a thin layer on the inside of water mains and interior plumbing to prevent water from actually coming in contact with pipe surfaces. This additive remains in the water all the way from the treatment plant to your home in Lombard. During construction or emergency repairs, this coating may be disturbed. 

Water Service Map Opens in new windowIn 2017, Illinois Public Act 00-0922 requires Public Water Suppliers to maintain a lead water service line inventory, provide lead notifications during construction projects, and requires schools and daycares to test for lead in their plumbing systems. The Village of Lombard provides its residents a Water Service Line Information Map to find information regarding your water service. The information on this map was derived from data collected during the water meter replacement program, age of the structure, and building permit records. As the Village is not required to dig and expose each water service to determine the material make up, the information on the map is not a guarantee of the existing service line material.  You can contact Public Works for more information or help in identifying your water service line material. 

Lead Information Notices

As construction projects occur in your neighborhood, you will receive notification of water main repairs, replacements, maintenance, and water meter change-outs.  Notification will be in one of the following forms:

•    Scheduled Water Main/Water Service Construction – written notification no less than 14 days prior to the start of the work.

•    Emergency Water Main/Water Service Repairs – written notification as soon as possible prior to the work commencing. Residents can expect the Village to go door to door in the affected area and provide a water main shut down notice with repair details and information about lead.

•    Water Meter Change-Out – written notification at the time the water meter is being replaced.

Lead Water Service Line Replacement Reimbursement Program

The Village of Lombard offers a program to help residents with the replacement cost of lead water service lines and iron or galvanized water service lines that are connected to a lead water service. Through this program, the Village will replace the portion of the lead water service line from the connection at the water main to the curb stop in the Village right-of-way at no cost to the resident and provide up to $5,000 or 75% of the cost of the service line replacement from the curb stop up to the water meter in the resident’s home. Check out the Grants page for more information.



Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Lead Service Line and how do I know if I have one? A lead service line is the pipe that provides drinking water to your home from the water main in the Village right-of-way. Lead service lines are generally a dull gray in color. You can identify them easily by carefully scratching with a key or coin. If the pipe is made of lead, the area you scratched will turn bright silver in color. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument as you may puncture a hole in the pipe. Lead service lines may be connected to your home’s plumbing as it enters the building using solder, and have a typical “bulb” at the end near the shut off valve. You can use the following guidelines to help you determine if you have a lead service line in your home:

  • Homes constructed before 1930 will most likely have a lead water service unless it was replaced during a recent renovation.
  • Homes constructed between the 1930’s and 1960’s may have a lead service line. (lead plumbing material was being phased out at this time but was still used)
  • Homes constructed after the 1960’s will most likely have a copper water service line. (lead was banned by the U.S. EPA in 1986 for use in water service lines)

Start by locating your water meter in your home. Look at the portion of the pipe that enters the home through the floor or foundation from the outside and connects to the water meter. Figure 1 illustrates the typical “bulb” before the shut off valve and meter. Figure 2 illustrates the scratch method to determine if the pipe is made of lead.

Figure 1

Lead Service Line - Figure 1

Figure 2

Lead Service Line - Figure 2

Having a lead water service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. However, it does indicate that you may be at a higher risk for consuming lead if pipe corrosion occurs. 

You can contact a licensed plumber to inspect your water service line if you are not sure what material it is made of.

Who owns the water service line?  In the Village of Lombard, the water service line is owned by the Village from the connection with the water main up to and including the curb stop in the Village right-of-way.  The water service line from the curb stop to the water meter is owned by the property owner.

Can I have my water tested for lead? Yes, please contact the Public Works Department for more information on how to complete your sample. You may also contact local certified laboratories that can provide the testing materials. Cost for testing can range between $20 and $100.

Arro Laboratory, Inc.
425 Caton Farm Rd.
Crest Hill, IL 60431
815.727.5463

First Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
1600 Shore Road Suite D
Naperville, IL 60563
630.778.1200

Suburban Laboratories, Inc.
1950 S. Batavia Ave. Suite 150
Geneva, IL 60143
708.544.3260 

What can I do to reduce lead exposure in drinking water? Run your water to flush out lead after periods of non-use (6 – 8 hours) such as first thing in the morning, after work, or returning from vacation. Flushing times can vary based on the length of your lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home.  The length of lead service lines can vary considerably. Flushing for at least 3 – 5 minutes is recommended.

  • Run the tap before use.  Lead levels are likely at their highest when water has been sitting in the pipe for several hours. Clear this water from your pipes by running the cold water for 3-5 minutes before using. This allows you to draw fresh water from the main. In efforts to conserve water, you can use this water on house plants or to flush toilets.
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
  • Use a Filter.  A point-of-use (POU) water filter that is certified to remove "total lead" can be used.  More information regarding water filters can be found on the National Sanitation Federation website.
  • Clean and remove any debris from faucet aerators on a regular basis.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead.  Boiling water will not reduce lead and may increase the concentration.
  • Purchase lead-free WaterSense faucets and plumbing components.
  • Replace the entire lead service line.

Are there special steps I should take to protect my developing baby, infant, or young children? Households with pregnant women, infants, or young children should be especially aware of the potential for lead exposure through drinking water. If you suspect there may be lead in your home plumbing, consider having your water tested. The Village regularly tests for lead in the drinking water at a selected number of service locations. If lead is detected, consider purchasing a filter certified for lead removal or using an alternate source of water until the problem is corrected. Babies and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead at low levels. U.S. EPA estimates infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 percent to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.

Is it safe to shower in water that contains lead? Because lead is not absorbed through the skin, bathing or showering in water containing lead is not considered a health risk.

Can my pets drink water with lead?  Lead can impact animals the same way it does humans. Because domestic animals consume a relatively high volume of water relative to their body weight, pet owners with lead in their home plumbing may want to take precautions.

Can I replace a lead service line and how much does it cost? Yes. Residents that wish to replace their lead water service should contact a licensed plumber to perform the work. Water service line replacement will require a building permit from the Community Development Department located in Village Hall.

The cost of replacing the water service line can vary depending on the length of water service and type of material used. A minimum size for a new water service is one inch (1”) and is generally copper in material. Alternate materials may be used as approved by the Illinois State Plumbing Code. In most cases, the typical homeowner can expect to spend $5,000 - $7,000 to install a new water service line from the home to the Village water main. Check out the Grants page for information regarding the Lead Water Service Replacement Reimbursement Program


For additional information, please view the Lead in Drinking Water Brochure or contact Lombard Public Works at publicworks@villageoflombard.org or 630-620-5740.  You may also visit www.epa.gov/safewater/lead or the American Water Works Association DrinkTap website at www.drinktap.org for more information regarding lead in drinking water. 

All of the sample sites were either non-detectable for lead or far below the Action Level for lead set forth by the EPA. Lombard receives pre-treated finished water from the City of Chicago via the DuPage Water Commission and adds only a small amount of required chlorine to maintain disinfectant levels.