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Identifying Private Lead Service Connections

It's easy to find out what material your private service connection is made from.

You’ll need a magnet and a key or coin.

Step 1

  • Find your water meter, probably in the basement.
  • Your water meter should say "cubic metres" on the dial.

Step 2

  • Find the pipe.
  • It should be one inch in diameter or smaller and enter the house from underground a few feet before connecting to the water meter. You'll also see a valve on it.

Step 3

  • Is the pipe plastic?
  • If the pipe is plastic:
    • It is not made out of lead. There’s still a chance you could have lead fittings or solder in the plumbing in your house.
  • If the pipe is not plastic:
    • It may be lead.

Step 4

  • Scratch the pipe.
  • Use the key or coin to scratch the pipe close to where it enters the house through the wall, usually from a few feet underground.
  • If the colour underneath is orange like a shiny penny:
    • It is not lead. There’s still a chance you could have lead fittings or solder in the plumbing in your house.
  • If the colour is silver or gray:
    • It may be lead.

Step 5

  • Was the pipe hard to scratch?
  • If the pipe was hard to scratch:
    • It’s not lead. There’s still a chance you could have lead fittings or solder in the plumbing in your house.
  • If the pipe was soft and easy to scratch:
    • It’s probably either lead or galvanized steel.

Step 6

  • Does a magnet stick to the pipe?
  • If a magnet sticks to the pipe:
    • It is probably galvanized steel. There’s still a chance you could have lead fittings or solder in the plumbing in your house.
  • If a magnet does not stick to the pipe:
    • It is probably lead pipe.

Next Steps:

My pipes are made from lead.
My pipes are another material.