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How to Identify your Water Service Line Material

You will need a coin or key and a refrigerator magnet to perform the scratch test described below:

Step 1: Find your water meter.

For most buildings, the water meter is in the basement or lower level along the front wall that faces the street. If your basement or lower level is finished, the meter may be located behind a wall.

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Step 2: Locate the service line point of entry.

From your water meter, trace the pipe to where it enters the building, which will be either through an exterior wall or the floor.

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Step 3: Identify the test area on the service line.

The portion of the service line that needs to be tested is between the point of entry and the first fitting before the meter.

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If the service line is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of the pipe.

If the pipe is painted or corroded, use sandpaper to expose the metal first.

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Carefully scratch the pipe (like a lottery ticket) with a coin or key. Do not use a knife or other sharp tool to avoid puncturing the pipe.

Touch the magnet to the pipe and note if the magnet sticks.

Step 4: Identify the service line material based on the table and matrix below:

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Examples of characteristics that would identify a lead service line:

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Step 5: Go to the service line inventory web application and enter the address of the building for which the scratch test was performed.

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Step 6: On the popup that describes the service line materials, click on “Report My Service Line Material”.

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Step 7: Fill out the form and upload a clear photo that shows the service line point of entry through the wall or floor and scratch test location. Upload additional photos if needed.

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Examples of photos that clearly show the point of entry and test location:

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