• Important Information About Lead

    From the early 20th century through the early 1950s, the BWL and other water utilities across the country commonly used lead service lines to deliver water from the distribution mains to individual customers. Even though the BWL has been in compliance with the EPA’s lead regulations and was not required to remove lead service lines the BWL knew it was in the best interest of our customers and our utility to eliminate lead service lines from our system.

    In December 2016, the BWL replaced its last active lead service line, joining Madison, Wisconsin as the only two water utilities in the nation that have removed all lead service lines.  The project began in 2004 and removed 12,150 active lead services lines at a cost of $44.5 million.  

    Is There Lead in My Water?

    There is no detectable lead in BWL drinking water when it leaves our conditioning plants. However, since water is naturally corrosive small amounts of lead can dissolve into your drinking water if your water sits for several hours in contact with household plumbing fixtures, solder or faucets.  The BWL uses a corrosion control additive to create a protective coating to reduce or eliminate the risk of exposure.

    EPA's Message about Lead

    If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components associated with water service lines and home plumbing. The BWL is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components.  When water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for thirty seconds to two minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or at http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/index.cfm.

    Minimize Lead in Your Home 

    • Flush your pipes before drinking.  If your water has sat in your home’s plumbing for more than 6 hours then run the tap until the water feels cold.  To conserve water, the water could be collected to water household plants. 

    • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula.  Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.  

    • Check your plumbing fixtures.  A new “lead-free” law came into effect in 2014 limiting the amount of lead in faucets and plumbing.    

    Lead and Copper sampling was conducted by the BWL during the summer of 2014. Monitoring results can be found on the "Tables" tab under the heading "Substances Measured in Homes and Businesses".  BWL compliance monitoring is every 3 years and the next sampling round will be 2017.


    Please visit our website at www.lbwl.com/water for more information about lead.  

  • Related Links