Water service line inventory

Water and lead pipes

We take seriously the responsibility of providing safe and reliable utility services to our customers and work to ensure that the water we deliver meets all state and federal regulations, including the Safe Water Drinking Act. To better protect communities from any potential exposure to lead in drinking water, the federal Lead and Copper Rule requires water systems across the country to develop inventories of all service lines to identify lead pipes in preparation for their eventual replacement.

Water safety and quality are the continuous focus of our water system operators, including frequent testing of water samples from throughout our system at our in-house lab and other state-certified labs. Lead is not in drinking water when it leaves the water treatment plant, but it can get into water as it sits or passes through service lines, private plumbing systems or fixtures that contain lead. Most lead in tap water leaches from lead service lines, and customer’s pipes and fittings.

SWL&P has been providing water since the 1890s and our system is known to include some lead-pipe service lines. To help reduce potential contamination from those lead pipes, our water treatment process includes controlling the pH of the water as well as the addition of orthophosphate, a corrosion inhibiter, that helps to prevent lead from dissolving from pipes into the water. These controls have been proven effective through many years of water sampling from representative residences across the city.

You can follow simple practices to further reduce the potential for lead in your water. For example:

  • Before drinking, flush your home’s pipes by running the tap, taking a shower, doing laundry, or doing a load of dishes.
  • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Remember, boiling water does not remove lead from water.
  • Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). Sediment, debris, and lead particles can collect in your aerator. If lead particles are caught in the aerator, lead can get into your water.
  • If you use a filter, make sure you use a filter certified to remove lead and know when it’s time to replace it.

Water service line inventory

Completing a system-wide inventory of all service materials in our water system is the first step in meeting the EPA rule changes. We already have records for most of the service line material running from our water mains to customer property lines, but we need your help to complete the inventory of all water services from the property line to your water meter.

Here’s what you need to do

Option 1: Self-report your service line by completing a quick and simple form found here. You will need to include a photo. Find where the line enters the building — it’s usually within a few feet of your water meter—and please make sure the line is clearly visible and the image is in focus. That’s all there is to it. However, if we’re unable to determine the service line material from the photo, we will need to schedule a time to visit your home.

Option 2: Schedule an appointment to identify the pipe material in your home by calling our contractor HydroCorp. Appointments are available first come, first served Monday-Friday between 8-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m. or 2-4 p.m. Inspecting the pipe takes 5-10 minutes and there is no fee. Call 1-844-493-7641 or visit to set up a time. With online scheduling, follow the prompts for Wisconsin residents and then click "Initial Inspection". Choose "Superior-Service Material" from the dropdown menu to schedule your appointment.

Someone 18 or older will need to be present to allow the technician access to the water meter, usually located in the basement or utility room. Remember to ask to see the contractor’s identification badge before you allow entry.

Please self-report the service line material or call for an appointment by July 1, 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact HydroCorp from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday at (844) 493-7641 or visit

Lead Copper Graphic

All water service pipe verifications will be completed by late summer 2024. The completed inventory will be reported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and we’ll work with the DNR to develop a water service replacement plan for the lead and galvanized steel water services. We’ll also work with the DNR to determine whether changes need to be made to how we currently test for lead and copper.

About lead and its effects on health

Lead is a common metal that has been used in many different applications throughout time, including plumbing materials and pipes, paint, gasoline and many other everyday items. As the harmful effects of lead on human health were better recognized, its use was stopped or limited in many items that could cause exposure.

Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause serious health effects in all age groups. Infants and children can have decreases in IQ and attention span. Lead exposure can lead to new learning and behavior problems or exacerbate existing learning and behavior problems. The children of women who are exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can have increased risk of these adverse health effects. Adults can have increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney, or nervous system problems.

The Wisconsin DNR website has additional information on the possible health effects as well as ways to reduce your exposure to lead.

If you want to have your water tested for lead, you can arrange for testing by a state accredited laboratory. The Wisconsin DNR maintains a list of accredited labs here: Laboratories | | Wisconsin DNR.

Water faucet stock image

SWL&P’s parent company, ALLETE, has entered an agreement to be acquired by a partnership led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Global Infrastructure Partners and start the process to become a private company.

This transaction will not change our operations, strategy or shared purpose and values, and it is business as usual for all of us at SWL&P. Learn more at