Welcome to the Dearborn Lead Water Service Line Information Page

As a resident of Dearborn, this is your source for information regarding lead water service line activities.  Please use this page, and the linked resources, to learn about the issues and responses related to lead services lines in the City of Dearborn.

State rule requires replacement of lead water service lines over 20 years; Dearborn water tests are consistently safe

Homeowners need to be aware of a new State mandate that requires all cities in Michigan over the next 20 years to replace water service lines that are made out of lead. This State rule will impact thousands of homes in Dearborn in the next two decades because water service lines are on private property.

The water service lines between the sidewalk and the house are the responsibility of the private home owner, not the City. However, the rule requires the City to replace the lead water service line from the City water line (usually in the street) to 18 inches inside the basement.  

Dearborn’s drinking water is safe

Lead has been in the news because of the Flint water crisis, and this State rule is in response to publicity about that situation.

However, repeated and regular testing has determined that water coming into Dearborn homes meets federal safety standards.

This water service line replacement program is required by the State rule affecting all of Michigan. It is not because of any identified problem with Dearborn’s drinking water.

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), which supplies our water, as well as the City of Dearborn, regularly test the water delivered to similar homes to confirm that the water meets all safety standards.  For 30 years, the City has also tested the water inside a sample of homes to verify the same results. 

Note that every home’s plumbing system is different and may have an impact on water quality levels.  A licensed plumber can be hired to evaluate the materials in an individual home’s plumbing system to determine if any improvements are warranted.

Background on State rule regarding water service lines replacement

Former Governor Snyder signed a Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in June 2018 requiring all cities in Michigan to replace all lead water service lines. The water service lines must be replaced from the City-owned water mains within the street to 18 inches inside individual houses. The rule allows a 20-year replacement program, beginning in January 2020.

Dearborn’s situation

It was common to use lead for water service lines in houses built before the 1960s, and Dearborn has many homes from that era.

Through the results of earlier water main construction work in front of 13,000 houses, the City has information that 3,700 homes likely have water service lines that are made out of lead, and estimates that thousands more will fall into that category.  

There are at least 19,500 properties that have not been impacted by water main construction in the last 30 years. Because of that, the City does not have records of the water service line material for those homes.

How to determine your water service line material

It is not hard to verify the material of your water service line.  Make small scratches on the water service line that comes up from the basement floor and connects to the water meter.

The color of the scratch will indicate what material was used.  The scratch will reveal silver if it is lead, and therefore needs to be replaced. The scratches will reveal brown if it is copper, and therefore would not need to be replaced under this program.

You can share your findings of the water service line material by calling 313-943-2301.

Better yet, you can also complete the survey online. Complete survey

Reporting the material in your water service line will expedite the process and potentially save a visit from a city employee.

Because of the extensive nature of this state-mandated program, City employees will be going to most homes over the next several years, and will need to gain entry to homes to verify and document the composition of each house’s service line material. Employees will also need to determine its physical location and any obstacles affecting its eventual replacement.

Click here for resources regarding the Lead Water Service Line program