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Water service lines are small pipes that carry water from the City of Norfolk’s water mains, located in the streets, into individual homes and buildings.
The property owner owns the service line from the meter box, typically at the property line or in the sidewalk, to the plumbing inside the building.
Service lines can be made of lead, galvanized steel (which might contain lead), plastic, brass, copper, cast iron, or ductile iron.
Homes built before 1988 may have lead pipes that connect the home to the utility’s water main. Homes built after 1988 should not have a lead service line.
Other sources of lead include plumbing fixtures (faucets, valves, fittings, etc.), indoor copper plumbing pipes with lead solder, and lead paint. Lead paint in homes is typically the greatest contributor to lead exposure for young children.
Lead solder was commonly used to join copper pipes until around 1986 when it was banned. As lead solder is in direct contact with copper pipe, lead could be released into the drinking water. Lead paint was banned for residential use in 1978. Homes built before this time may have lead-based paint and dust contaminated with lead-based paint.
A service line will typically enter your home or building through the wall or floor in the basement or crawlspace. The exposed pipe usually connects to a water shut-off valve. Contact us if you need help finding your water service line.
When water leaves the City of Norfolk water treatment plant, it does not contain lead; it is safe to drink and complies with Federal and State standards.
Lead gets into the drinking water due to the corrosion of lead pipes or other parts made from lead, including the service line between the street and your home or building. We use a corrosion control treatment that coats the lining of the water system to reduce lead in the water. This treatment has been used for over three decades and sampling results continue to show that it is effective. The water mains in the street that distribute water from the treatment plant are mostly made of iron or plastic and do not leach lead into the drinking water.
Prolonged lead exposure can lead to health problems. Pregnant women, young children and elderly adults are most impacted. In pregnant women, lead can be passed to the fetus through the placental membrane leading to premature deliveries and reduced growth. In young children, low levels of lead exposure have been related to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter height, impaired hearing, and impaired blood cell formation and function. For adults, high levels of lead exposure can cause damage to the kidneys, brain, and nervous system.
According to the US EPA, there is no safe level of lead that can be consumed or ingested.
Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first published the Lead and Copper Rule in 1991, it has been revised multiple times to better protect children and communities at risk for lead exposure. After several years of review and analysis, the EPA released Lead and Copper Rule Revisions on October 16, 2021. City of Norfolk must comply with the rule by October 16, 2024. Key Lead and Copper Rule Revisions requirements include:
For more information on the Lead and Copper Rule, visit:
The City of Norfolk is committed to providing safe and clean water to all of our customers. We comply with all laws to maintain high water quality. In 2021 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised their Lead and Copper Rule. Under the revisions, water systems are required to perform an inventory of water service line materials to learn if the water system contains any lead or galvanized steel water service lines. Once the inventory is complete, Norfolk will develop a plan for replacement of the lead service lines and work with the impacted property owners.
Our chemists continuously monitor drinking water. The water production team utilizes a corrosion control treatment, which coats the lining of service lines, indoor pipes, fixtures, and solder, to reduce lead exposure into the distribution system. This corrosion control treatment has been in place for over three decades. To date, sampling results indicate that our corrosion control treatment is effective.
Verify your service line’s materials by following the instructions provided on our Service Line Material Self-Reporting Form.
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”.
Report your service line materials using our online Service Line Material Self-Reporting Form.
If you think you have a lead service line or lead solder, a metal alloy made from lead and tin used to join pipes together, you can take steps to decrease your lead exposure, including:
If you are concerned about lead poisoning, immediately visit: the U.S. EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline. Fill out the online form (U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water) or call 1-800-424-LEAD (1-800-424-5323).. Follow the steps at “How to Reduce Your Risk”.