Lead & Copper Rule Compliance

Keeping water quality safe

The top priority for the City Phoenix is keeping the water quality safe for the more than 450,000 service lines in the City's water system.

A dad holding his daughter in the kitchen

We Take Drinking Water Seriously

We've provided high quality, reliable and cost-effective water services for 115 years and are we are safeguarding our system for generations to come.

As part of the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead and Copper Rule and Revisions the City is identifying and cataloging the community's water service lines.

Over the next several years, we'll be working with contractors to physically identify service line materials. We'll rely on our historical records, plumbing codes, ordinances, and field crews to develop our service line inventory.

City employee checking a water service line.
City employee checking a water service line.

What is a Service Line?

A service line is an underground pipe that connects your property to the City's water main.

Service line diagram showing its path from the water main to the house. This includes private and publics sides of the service line.

Why We're Looking at Your Service Line

It's important for us to know what our service lines are made out of so we can proactively plan for the replacement of infrastructure that may pose a health risk due to corrosion that happens over time.


We know there is a health risk associated with lead. However, according to the City of Phoenix Standards and Specifications the City discontinued the use of lead service lines in 1938. The EPA through the Safe Drinking Water Act banned the use of lead nationally in 1986 which was officially adopted in the State of Arizona in 1988. The City adopted an ordinance which prohibits the use of lead water pipes and fittings in 1988.

Lead pipe
Lead pipe


After the City discontinued the use of lead in 1938, many service lines were made of galvanized steel (a pipe coated with zinc to prevent corrosion and rust). But, galvanized service lines can also pose a health risk because the zinc coating corrodes over time potentially leaching lead particles into the galvanized service line. The City discontinued the use of galvanized service lines in 1983.

Galvanized pipe
Galvanized pipe


Although we now primarily use long-lasting and safe copper piping, we understand that there's a chance that galvanized service line materials still exist in our system. Taking an inventory of our service line materials is the first step in keeping your water safe!

Copper pipe
Copper pipe

Service Line Inventory Process

The City is in the process of identifying and cataloging the public and private water service lines. We have over 450,000 service lines in the City, so we began by reviewing construction records and maintenance records to help us verify known service line material types. Homes or buildings constructed after 1987 use copper or plastic per building codes, so recent records weren't reviewed.

Next, we started a multi-year process of visually inspecting the unknown service lines (nearly 400,000!). During the visual inspections, we open the water meter box and look at the pipe on both sides of the meter (public & private). We also inspect the pipe material where it connects to the home or building.

By October 16, 2024 we will submit our completed inventory to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). In the unlikely event that lead is discovered, immediate action will be taken. If galvanized material is found, we will begin the monitoring and replacement process.

Our Progress

In order chronologically: Records Review;  Visual Inspections(Public & Private) Ongoing - December 2023; Submit completed inventory to ADEQ October 16, 2024; and then at around the same time: Copper pipe verified = process complete!; Other material found = notify customer November 16, 2024; Monitoring & replacement process begins

Frequently Asked Questions

As part of the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, the City is required to identify and categorize all of the service lines, regardless of ownership. The City is currently developing a complete service line inventory with both customer (private) and utility owned (public) portions.

Service line inventories are the foundation from which water systems can take action on emerging issues. This inventory will be made available to the public and used as the basis for Service Line Replacement efforts. Over time, systems will continue to refine the inventory by verifying information in the field and identifying the material of unknown lines.

Yes. Phoenix water is clean, high quality, and safe to drink. Public health, economic development, and quality of life here in our desert city are contingent upon a reliable and safe tap water supply. More than five million tests and measurements are conducted each year to ensure high quality tap water in Phoenix. Our water is tested for more than 100 substances and is monitored throughout the year to ensure that it meets the rigorous standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department.

The most common source of lead in drinking water is from household plumbing including from certain brass fixtures, copper piping joined with lead-based solder, and lead service lines. When water stands for several hours in lead pipes or plumbing fixtures containing lead, the lead may dissolve into the water due to the corrosive nature of water. Lead particles can attach to the surface of galvanized material like galvanized steel and iron. Read the EPA's guidance on Lead in Drinking Water to learn more.

City, State, and Federal regulations, such as the Lead and Copper Rule protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water, primarily by reducing water corrosivity.

There is no known safe level of lead in a human body.

Learn about lead and the health effects of exposure to lead in drinking water on the EPA's website.

A service line is the pipe that carries water from the City's water main through a water meter and then to a property.

Click on image to enlarge.

Phoenix has been supplying water to customers for more than 100 years. While records indicate that lead service lines did exist in Phoenix's water service territory, it was standard protocol to remove lead service lines any time they were encountered or discovered by Phoenix Water Services employees. The last documented lead service line replacements took place in the early 1990s. If the city were to come across any lead service lines during maintenance and repairs, our protocol still stands to replace them.

Yes. Lead particles can attach to the surface of galvanized pipes. Over time, particles can enter your drinking water causing elevated lead levels. The original method of distributing water throughout a building was by installing galvanized water lines. These remained popular until approximately the early 1960s. The biggest problem with these water lines is that they had the tendency to rust from within, eventually restricting water pressure and deteriorating at the joints. Galvanized pipes have the tendency to accumulate lead deposits over time. As galvanized pipes corrode from within and form rust, lead that has accumulated in the interior walls of those rusty pipes can be released into the water.

In 1991, EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule (also referred to as the LCR). The rule requires water systems to monitor the lead and copper levels at the tap inside customer homes and conduct additional actions if high levels of lead or copper are found in more than 10 percent of homes tested. The City of Phoenix completed its first round of standard monitoring in 1992. Since 1991 the LCR has undergone various revisions, the most recent in December 2021.

Yes. The current Lead and Copper Rule Revisions became law in December 2021. The City continues to follow the LCR requirements by:

  • Maintaining an effective corrosion control program to minimize pipe corrosion.
  • Soliciting customers to participate in the sampling at their taps.

You received a letter because your property qualifies to be in the City's sampling pool for monitoring for lead and copper in drinking water. The City is required to sample and analyze a certain number of samples in order to calculate our 90th percentile which is used to determine if the City is in compliance with the lead trigger and action levels. Your participation is critical to our success. Watch this sampling instruction video.

The first step is to locate the water meter box in the front yard of the property, close to the street near the curb or sidewalk. The water meter box contains the water meter that supplies water to a building. Be careful not to damage your water meter after locating your pipe material.

This photograph shows the location of the city shutoff valve, water meter, and the beginning of the customer-side (private) service line.

Then, locate the spigot with a shutoff valve on an external wall of the building. This is the point that water enters the building.

This photograph shows the customer-side spigot and customer-side shutoff valve.

Next, identify your service line material. In the pictures below you will find different methods used to verify material type.

Lead Pipe

If the scraped area is shiny and silver, the line is likely lead. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.

Copper Pipe

If the scraped area is copper colored, like a penny, the line is likely copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.

Galvanized Steel Pipe

If the scraped area is dull gray, the line is likely galvanized. A magnet will stick to a galvanized pipe.

  • Lead service lines and lead goosenecks were used occasionally until 1987. It is challenging to know the location of every lead service line and lead gooseneck because of poor record keeping.
  • Galvanized service lines became the most common material between 1940's and 1960's. Galvanized pipe was an alternative to lead pipe for water service lines.
  • Copper service lines have been used since the 1940's but became popular in the mid 1960's. Copper service lines are the most common type of piping used today because of their longevity, durability, and corrosion resistance.

The City has been actively assessing the material type of service lines within the water system. For questions about this process, contact the City’s Customer Service Line at (602) 262-6251 and say “Pipes”.

Replacing a water service line costs anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more. Factors that can contribute to the total cost include:

  • The distance from the water meter to the entry point of the building.
  • The type of landscaping disturbed during a replacement.
  • The type of material used in the replacement.

The City of Phoenix will be replacing galvanized public service lines from the water main to the water meter. The City is currently evaluating funding options for customers to replace their galvanized private service lines.

History of Lead and Copper in Phoenix

Click or tap the dots for more events.


Safe Drinking Water Act Lead Ban

The 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act Lead Ban required the use of "lead-free" pipe, solder, and flux in the installation or repair of any public water system or any plumbing in residential or non-residential facility providing water for human consumption.


Lead and Copper Rule

The 1991 Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) established a maximum contaminant level goal of zero for lead in drinking water. Learn more.

Jan. 2021

Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) on January 15, 2021. Learn more.



The City of Phoenix will be required to be in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions by October 16, 2024. Learn more.

State of Arizona Lead Ban

The State of Arizona adopted the SDWA Lead Ban. The City, through an ordinance, amended the plumbing code portion of the construction code to prohibit the use of solders and fluxes with a lead content of more than 0.02% in brass and copper and to eliminate the use of lead water pipes.


Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

Replacing lead pipes is a centerpiece of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), which was passed on November 15, 2021. Learn more.

Nov. 2021