According to a new law approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, all drinking water utilities in the United States must identify and establish a replacement plan for all lead service lines within their systems by Oct. 16, 2024.
Lead service lines were identified as a potential public health hazard in the early 1990s and this new law’s goal is to help reduce the risk of lead contamination in the public’s drinking water.
To meet this deadline, the City of Kingsport is asking for the public’s help in identifying their service line material from the meter to their home. Kingsport owns the water lines up to the meter; from the meter to the home the lines are owned by the property owner.
“It would be a tremendous amount of labor and cost for the city to have to go and dig two or three holes on every single service line,” said Harris Darby, civil engineer for the city of Kingsport. “With 30,000 lines to inventory, we’re asking property owners for help.”
Kingsport is asking residents to report the type of pipes in their homes by going to the city’s website, www.kingsporttn.gov and clicking on the Lead Line Survey link on the main page. You can also find the survey on the home page of the ConnectKingsport app.
The survey is only three questions and will take just a few minutes to complete. You will need to have your utility/water billing account number in order to complete the survey.
Drinking water utilities must have an inventory of all lead lines within their system by the deadline. From there, replacement plans and funding mechanisms will need to be established, showing the EPA these lead lines will be replaced.
Kingsport will be responsible for replacing lead lines until the line goes into the house. At that point, it will be the homeowner’s responsibility to switch those water lines out.
Identifying lead pipes in a home is a simple task for homeowners. A service line typically enters the house either in the basement or in a crawl space. If your lines are metal, you can determine if they are lead by following these steps:
- Use a screwdriver or other small tool to scratch the pipe. A lead pipe will be silver and shiny.
- Place a magnet on the line. A magnet will not stick to a lead line.
- Tap the pipe with a coin. A lead line will make a dull sound.
If Kingsport does not verify a service line’s material by the deadline, the city will be required to send a mailer out to customers on an annual basis saying you may or may not have a lead line serving your house. There is no penalty or fine associated with this notice.
Remember – homes built after 1986 should not have lead pipes as lead pipes were banned from usage that year. Kingsport has approximately 855 miles of water pipes within its system and nearly 40,000 water meters. About 1/3 of those meters are for homes built after 1986.
If you need help or have any questions about the survey, please call 423-343-9800 or email email@example.com.