Material Verification

The 2021 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) require that water utilities prepare an inventory of all water service line materials, for both customer- and utility-owned service lines.

City of Norfolk is proactively completing the service line materials inventory to better protect customers by expediting the removal of lead service lines from the drinking water system. The City is employing a range of methods to investigate and verify service line materials, including historical record review, field visits, test pits, statistical analysis, and customer self-reporting.

In the meantime, the City of Norfolk needs your help! Checking your own service line is the first step toward protecting yourself and helping the City develop a complete and accurate inventory.  


Steps to Determine Service Line Material

Step 1: Gather a strong magnet and a key or coin.

Step 2: Find where your service line enters your building. There will likely be a valve in a basement, crawl space, or utility closet.

Step 3: Test the material of the pipe.

  • Have an adult scratch the pipe with the key or coin to reveal its color.
  • Hold the magnet to the pipe and see if it sticks. 
  • Take one or more well-lit photos capturing the results of the tests.

Step 4: Compare your results to these options.

  • If the material is red, blue, black, or white, the pipe is plastic
  • If the material is the color of a penny (dull brown or greenish), and a magnet does not stick, the pipe is copper
  • If the material is dark yellow or golden, the pipe is brass
  • If the material is dull gray, and a magnet sticks to it, the pipe is galvanized steel
  • If the material is gray, shines brightly, is easily scraped, and a magnet does NOT stick to it, the pipe is lead

Step 5: Report your findings by filling out the Service Line Material Self-Reporting Form

Pipe Examples Image

Next Steps

If your service line is plastic, copper, or brass…

  • These materials are generally accepted as safe for plumbing for water lines. 
  • There is still a chance that lead fittings or solder could have been used somewhere in your plumbing system. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, contact the Water Quality Lab for a sampling kit by calling 757-441-5678 or visit Your Tap Water for more information. Follow the steps at “How to Reduce Your Risk”.  

If your service line is lead or galvanized steel…

  • Consider replacing your service line. At this time, the cost of replacing the customer-side of the service line is the responsibility of the property owner. Norfolk is currently looking into options to offset the private-side cost in the future.
  • Contact the City of Norfolk directly. Visit the Contact Us page for details.