Have your property’s lead or non-copper water service line replaced, free of charge.

Lead Service Line Replacement BrochureThe City of Somerville is launching a Lead Service Line Replacement Program to improve our local water infrastructure and ensure all residents are receiving water that is free of lead.

Water service lines are the pipes that connect individual properties to the water main in the street. According to available records, 3.6% of the City’s service lines are known to be made of lead. Other services may be made of iron, galvanized steel, brass, plastic, or copper. Non-copper services can corrode, leak, or fail over time. This program seeks to eliminate any remaining traces of lead from our water system first, followed by other non-copper services.

Through the help of the Lead Loan Program offered by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), the City of Somerville has received a portion of $100 million in state funding distributed to 45 eligible communities. This program provides residents with an opportunity to replace the entire length of their property’s lead or other non-copper water service line, at no charge to the property owner. 

  • Lead in Drinking Water

  • Program Timeline

  • Am I Eligible?

  • Apply Now

Glass of tap waterWhy should I participate in this program?

Exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, particularly for infants, young children, and pregnant people. 

To learn more about health risks related to exposure to lead in drinking water, visit these resources:

If your service line is made of made of brass, galvanized steel, iron, or plastic, you’re also eligible to participate in this program. Non-copper services can corrode, leak, or fail over time, so the City plans to replace those with copper piping after lead services have been removed.

How does lead get into drinking water?

Lead can leach into tap water if the service line that connects a home to the water main in the street is made of lead, or if there are plumbing fixtures in the home made of lead. The pipes that carry water in the street are usually made of cast iron or ductile iron and do not add lead to your water. 

Homeowners and the City share ownership of the service line. The homeowner owns the section of the pipe that is under the homeowner's property. The City owns the section of the pipe between the property line and the water main. 

Through the Lead Service Line Replacement Program, the entire service will be replaced, from the house to the water main in the street, at no cost to the homeowner.

How can I reduce my risk of potential exposure to lead through water?

If your water service line is made of lead, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself against lead exposure through your tap water:

  • Run the faucet for at least 30 seconds before using water from the tap. 
  • Never use hot water from the faucet for drinking or cooking.
  • If the material of your service line is unknown, have it inspected.
     

Service replacements through Somerville’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program are expected to begin in 2020 and continue over several years. Applications can be submitted starting in October 2019.

Phase 1: 2020

Phase 1 prioritizes replacement at properties known to have lead services, as well as higher-risk locations like hospitals, daycares, and planned construction sites. All schools have been verified NOT to have lead piping.

Future Phases: Beyond 2020

Future phases will include replacement of remaining non-lead non-copper services and verification of piping material at properties where it’s unknown.

Type your address in the red search bar below to find out if you’re eligible for this program based on the criteria listed below. If you are, click on the Apply Now tab above.

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OK, I’ve looked up my address. Now what?

  • If your service is made of lead: Your service is a priority for replacement. Please click here to apply.
  • If your service is made of brass, galvanized steel, iron, or plastic: You’re eligible to have your service replaced through this program. Please click here to apply.
  • If your service is unknown: You’re eligible to have the City’s contractor verify the material of your water service through this program. Please click here to apply.
  • If your service is copper: You’re all set! No action is needed. 

Through this program, non-copper services will be replaced with copper piping between the city water main (street) and the water meter (basement) at eligible properties.

How do I apply?

Please complete this online form. You can also pick up and submit a hard copy in person at the Engineering Division (Department of Public Works, 1 Franey Rd.). After you submit your application, someone in the Engineering Division will contact you to schedule your service replacement.

What does the service replacement actually entail? 

Work to replace one water service is expected to take about one day to complete. The City’s contractor will remove and replace the existing non-copper water service from the water main in the street to the water meter inside your basement. Service-replacement work will be either trenchless or open excavation, depending on the location and condition of your piping. All disturbed surfaces will be restored to their original condition.

Water service lines are the pipes that connect individual properties to the water main in the street.

Questions? Call (617) 625-6600 x5400.