Lead Service Lines

Troy’s water mains do not contain lead, however the water service line running from the water main to your home may be made of lead, especially if your house was built before 1940. Read our FAQs on lead service lines (PDF) or learn more about lead and drinking water.

Do you have a lead service line?

Complete these steps and submit your results below. View printable instructions (PDF)

You will need:

  • Key or coin
  • Strong refrigerator magnet

Step 1: Locate your water service where it enters the building

This is typically found in the basement near your water meter. Testing should be done where the service enters the building, before the shut-off valve and the water meter. In some instances, a very short length of lead pipe may enter the house before transitioning to another material.

Step 2: Magnet test

Place a magnet on the pipe and see if it sticks.

Step 3: Scratch test

Carefully scratch the pipe (like you would a lottery ticket) with a key or a coin. Do not use a knife or other sharp tool. If pipe is painted, use sandpaper to expose the metal first.

Step 4: Take a photo

Take a photo of the scratched pipe and compare it to the images below. Be sure to show the pipe entering the building. Submit your results.

Lead

  • Magnet does not stick
  • Scratched area is shiny and silver
  • Joints often have a distinctive bulb or flare
  • Flexible pipe, often with visible curves
  • Exterior is dull gray

Copper

  • Magnet does not stick
  • Scratched area is shiny and copper
  • Joints are soldered
  • Flexible pipe, often with visible curves
  • Exterior is brown, sometimes with green or dark brown corrosion

Galvanized Steel

  • Magnet sticks to pipe
  • Scratched area remains dull gray
  • Joints are threaded (screw together)
  • Straight ridged pipe
  • Exterior is dark gray or black

Other Materials

Brass pipes are similar in color to copper pipes but have threaded connections. A magnet will not stick to a brass pipe. If your pipe has threaded connections and is golden in color, your service line is brass.

Plastic pipes (PVC, PEX, etc.) come in a variety of colors, typically white, black, blue, or red. A magnet will not stick to a plastic pipe.

Submit your results

Lead Service Lines

  • Drop files here or
    By submitting a photo, we can verify your pipe material and avoid the need for a future appointment. If you are having difficulty taking or uploading a photo, please email [email protected]
  • please submit any questions or comments