Lead Service Line Replacement Program

A safer and healthier Lincoln. One water service line at a time. The City of Lincoln is committed to improving the safety and health of residents through Lincoln's Lead Service Line Replacement program.

About Lincoln Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR)

The City of Lincoln is expanding its efforts to get the lead out of Lincoln through its Lead Safe Lincoln program. Lincoln Water System plans to help customers replace older drinking water service lines on their property that are made of lead or lead-contaminated metal at no cost to property owners.

The City is launching a program in 2024 to replace old, lead or lead-contaminated galvanized steel lines with safer copper lines for property owners. Areas of the City with a large number of private lead service lines will be invited to participate in Phase 1 of the program. Approximately 200 properties are targeted for replacements this year. More service line replacements are planned in the future. Current Project Area Information

The City’s goal is to replace all lead and lead-contaminated galvanized water service lines across the community by 2035. Lead lines are found primarily in homes built prior to 1950. The majority of lead service lines are in homes or businesses constructed before 1930.

Exposure to lead may put people at risk of health and development issues, especially for children and at-risk individuals.

Learn more: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Reducing Lead Exposure Health Effects of Lead


What’s a water service line?

Your water service line brings drinking water from the City’s main water pipeline into your home or business. Often, this line is constructed when your property is built. This line is considered private property, and property owners are typically responsible for repairing and replacing the service line. The City’s Lead Service Line Replacement program will help replace these aging lines at no charge to property owners.

A Typical Water Service Line in Lincoln

How do I participate in Lincoln’s LSLR program?

Beginning in spring 2024, Lincoln Water System’s contracted plumbers will reach out to property owners within the Phase 1 area to begin the process for replacements. Replacement of water service lines is scheduled to start in summer 2024. Replacements are planned to continue for an estimated additional 10 years.

Lead Service Line Replacement Program Phase 1 Areas

Map of phase 1 area
Timeline:
Area A: 2024 (North Bottoms neighborhood)
Area B: 2024-2025
Area C: 2025+

In general, property owners will be asked to:

  • Allow a City-approved plumbing contractor or other representative to inspect their private water service line to confirm the presence of lead or lead-contaminated galvanized steel lines.
  • Sign an agreement authorizing the City's plumbing contractor to replace the existing lead service line with a safer copper pipe on their property.

Residents outside of the Phase 1 area who are interested in learning more about this program are encouraged to call Lincoln Water System at 402-441-7571 (option 2) with questions.


What are the benefits of this program?

New water service lines will:

  • Help ensure the health and safety of Lincoln residents by removing the risk of lead exposure in water service lines for decades to come.
  • Be installed at no cost to property owners.
  • Include a $100 credit to property owner water accounts to assist with any cosmetic repairs (painting, landscaping, etc.).
  • Come with a two-year warranty on replacement.
Family drinking water giving a thumbs up

How do I find out if my property has a lead service line?

Use Lincoln Water System's interactive map to look up the status of the service line on your property and determine if it is non-lead, lead, or lead-contaminated galvanized steel. lincoln.ne.gov/WaterServiceLineMap

Lead service lines are found primarily in homes built prior to 1950. But the majority of lead service lines are in homes or businesses constructed before 1930.

Please consider reviewing other City programs at lincoln.ne.gov/LeadSafe that can also help you determine if you have lead in other places in your home.

How do I find out if my property has other sources of lead in the home?

Homes built before 1950 may have additional lead pipes inside their home. Other sources of lead in home plumbing include lead-contaminated galvanized steel pipes and older brass faucets and fixtures. Lincoln Water System does not keep pipe material records for in-home plumbing.

Related information: Lead in Plumbing or Service Lines

Will my home be lead-free after the service line is replaced?

This program replaces water service lines which is the line that connects the water meter or building to the water main. Older homes and buildings may still have lead or lead-contaminated galvanized steel pipes inside the building after replacement work is finished. Older brass faucets and fixtures can also be a source of lead. Older homes and buildings may also have lead paint.

Related information: Lead in Plumbing or Service Lines Lead Safe Lincoln

What is Phase 1 of the program going to look like?

The first phase of the program is a one-year program that will investigate and replace lead and galvanized water service lines on up to 200 properties. Property owners will not need to contact the City. The City’s Lincoln Water System division will contact property owners when the City’s contracted plumbers are in your neighborhood conducting service line replacements. The City plans to evaluate the program once the first phase is complete. The City will make any needed improvements and plans to continue the program into the future.

How will the City prioritize properties that need lead replacements?

The City has developed a strategic plan to prioritize the replacement of lead and galvanized service lines across the community by 2035. In alignment with EPA guidance, Lincoln Water System has established criteria to identify priority locations for water service line replacements in 2024 and beyond. Census tract locations will be updated every year on the City website to identify areas of Lincoln replacements will be conducted in.

Criteria to determine priority of service includes:

  • Areas where records show a greater density of lead and lead contaminated galvanized steel service lines
  • Data showing elevated blood levels of lead in children
  • Social vulnerability data
  • Risk to lead exposure due to amount of lead in service line

Which areas of Lincoln will receive lead service line replacements first?

The City will be focused in Census tract 5 in 2024. This is in a large portion of the North Bottoms neighborhood area. Census tracts 18 and 20.01 will follow. Depending on how fast replacements can occur, it’s estimated that pipe replacements in Census tracts 18 and 20.01 may begin in 2025. Future tracts after these will be identified every year and put on this website.

View Map of Phase 1 Program Areas

Are businesses exempt from this program?

No. Business properties in the selected census tracks will receive lead or galvanized pipe replacements at no cost to them.

If I want to conduct my own service line replacement before the City’s program gets to my property, will the City pay for it?

The Lead Safe Lincoln Water Service Line Replacement Program is a thorough program that will take several years to replace all lead and lead-contaminated galvanized service lines in homes and businesses in Lincoln. The City is unable to reimburse property owners for service line replacements who choose to replace their lines before the City contacts them to conduct a replacement. The program must follow federal funding requirements which include using only plumbers contracted with the City for this program.

How long will I need to wait before the City comes to my neighborhood?

Lincoln Water System is developing this program with the goal of replacing all customer lead water service lines as proposed by the Lead Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI), which has a target for all replacement to be completed by 2035. The timeline for completion of the program is dependent on resource availability, which includes plumbing contractors as well as ongoing funding, which is unknown at the current time.

What if the service line replacement affects my yard or property?

Lincoln Water System will have a plan in place to replace the grass with grass seed. Water team members will review tree locations to see if a service line can go around the tree. Some tree removals may be required. This cost would be paid for by the City if there was no other option to replace the current service line. If sprinkler systems are affected in the process of replacing a lead service line, the contractor may be responsible for repair. Property owners will receive a $100 credit to their water bills for cosmetic repairs like painting or fencing, etc. once they complete the replacement.

How long will crews be on my property to conduct the replacement?

A water service line replacement is estimated to take a single day (8 hours) to conduct. However, there may be times when the contractor may need access to the property before the replacement takes place. There are also some cases where a contractor may find unexpected challenges around the pipes. This may extend the replacement effort to more than one day.

How many days will I need to give the City access to my property?

Lincoln Water System will request access to your home an estimated one to two times to visually inspect and verify service line plumbing material, water meter location, and conduct the lead service line replacement. They may request additional access if they find unexpected challenges that may extend the time it takes to complete the replacement.

Who will do this work?

The City plans to hire two private licensed plumbing contractors for the first phase of the program.

What will residents be asked to do when the City is ready to conduct a replacement at their property?

  • Receive a letter from the City of Lincoln Water System notifying you that your water service line is included in the City’s service line replacement program.
  • Submit a photograph of your service line near your water meter using the information sent to you in the mail.
  • Sign the form to allow the City’s licensed plumber to work on your property.
  • Allow the City’s plumber access to your home or business to inspect and replace your service line.

If I have a lead service line and it starts to leak but I’m not in the area you are working in, what do I do?

Call Lincoln Water System at 402-441-7571 option 2 about this situation. We will investigate.

What can property owners do now while they wait for their service line replacement?

Please review the City’s water quality website for information on lead, lead programs, and ways homeowners can protect themselves from lead exposure.

Related information: Lead Awareness – information on how to identify lead in plumbing or service lines, how to reduce lead exposure, health effects of lead and more

What are the health risks to being exposed to lead?

  • Lead is a toxic metal that can harm a child’s health.
  • Children can be exposed to lead by breathing or swallowing lead or lead dust. In children, lead exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage, learning and behavior problems, slowed growth and development and hearing and speech issues. Even low levels of lead can affect a child’s ability to learn, pay attention and do well in school.
  • A blood lead test is the best way to find out if a child has lead poisoning. A child with lead poisoning may not have visible signs or symptoms. Many children who have lead poisoning look and act healthy. Parents can talk to their child’s healthcare provider about getting a blood lead test if they’re concerned their child may have been exposed to lead.

Questions?

Contact Lincoln Water System: 402-441-7571 (option 2)

More information: Water Quality Information Lead Awareness Taking Care of Your Water

Lead Safe Lincoln

Lead Safe Lincoln is a partnership between the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, Urban Development and Lincoln Transportation and Utilities to reduce the risk of lead exposure.

More information: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Lead Safe Lincoln Grant Program Urban Development Department