Lead in Plumbing or Service Lines

It’s important to know if you may have lead in your plumbing or service line. The water flowing through the city’s water mains does not contain a detectable amount of lead. But lead can get into the water if it moves through privately-owned service lines or household plumbing that contain lead.

Older plumbing usually has more lead. Lead can be found in older privately‐owned pipes, faucets, fittings, fixtures, and service lines. Over the years, the use of lead in plumbing decreased because of changes to common practices and laws. Plumbing materials manufactured in 2014 or after are considered lead‐free by today’s standards. Lincoln Water System records show that solid lead pipes were often used in constructing water service pipes to homes and businesses prior to 1940. While used much less frequently, solid lead pipes can still be found in plumbing system installed through 1950. Some of these lead pipes have been replaced by property owners over the years, but many still exist today.

Hot water can have higher levels of lead if you have lead in your plumbing. If there is lead in your plumbing, water from the hot‐side of the faucet can contain more lead than the cold water. The higher temperature makes it easier for lead to dissolve from the plumbing into the water. Lead from plumbing can also accumulate inside the water heater. Do not drink, cook, or prepare baby formula with water from the hot‐side of the faucet. It is safe to use hot water for other uses.

The best way to protect against lead in water is to remove lead plumbing altogether.

Lead In Plumbing Phase Out


No New Lead Pipes

By 1950, lead pipes were rarely installed in Lincoln.


No New Galvanized Pipes

By 1960, galvanized steel pipes were rarely installed in Lincoln homes.


Lead Solder Ban

Installation of "high-lead" pipes, pipe fittings, solder, and flux was banned in Nebraska, making it unlawful to join copper pipe with lead solder after July 1, 1988.


Lead Reduced in Brass Fittings & Fixtures

Faucets, fixtures and plumbing fittings (endpoint devices) installed on or after August 6, 1998 must comply with new lead-free leaching standards.


A New Definition of "Lead-Free"

In 2014, the amount of lead allowed in new drinking water plumbing components was further reduced, from 8 percent to 0.25 percent.