Lead and Copper

Service Line Inventory Project Beginning Fall 2022

Lead and Drinking Water

Greeley Water’s top priority is the safety of our drinking water and protecting public health.

In recent years, there has been greater national awareness of the potential for lead in drinking water. Lead and copper pipes have been historically used in homes, as people did not know that lead and copper could seep out into drinking water. The issue really became apparent with the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, from 2014-2019. The water leaving Greeley’s treatment facilities is lead-free—lead does not come from our water supplies or the city’s water delivery pipelines.

New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulations

New EPA regulations require water providers like Greeley Water & Sewer to identify buildings and homes that could potentially have lead service lines. Service lines are the pipes that connect the city’s main water line to homes or businesses. The City owns the pipes that run from the main water lines to the water meters, and the customers own the pipes that run from the meter to the internal plumbing. In Greeley, lead service lines may have been installed in homes until 1980, so homes built after 1980 should not have lead service lines. Lead was also historically used in older plumbing materials such as valves, faucets, fixtures, and solder. When water runs through lead service lines or plumbing, the lead can break off into tiny particles and end up in your homes’ drinking water.

Fortunately, the City of Greeley has conducted aggressive lead service line removal since 1991, removing 1,207 lead service lines that the city owns. However, some older homes may still have customer-owned lead lines running from the meter at the end of the city’s property line into houses, or homes may have lead plumbing/fixture/solder in their homes.


Concerned about lead in your drinking water? Download the EPA's 2-page infographic here.


Service Line Inventory Project Overview

To comply with new EPA Lead and Copper Rule regulations, the City of Greeley is required to create a mapped inventory of water service line materials throughout the city and make it is publicly available by October 2024. The inventory will guide the city’s program to replace any remaining lead service lines at no cost to the homeowner.

The Water & Sewer Department is asking customers in areas of the city with older homes to complete a voluntary questionnaire to determine the material of their service line. In this questionnaire, customers are asked to provide information and photos where the service line enters the house. In some cases, the city may need to dig small holes in the yard over the service line, a procedure called “potholing.” This allows workers to inspect the pipes visually. Water testing may also be conducted.

Note: City employees will always drive a City vehicle and have identification. Letters and door hangers will be used to notify residents of the work in advance. Any contractors working for the City of Greeley to assist in potholing lines or other work will have a letter from the City authorizing them to complete specific tasks for this project.

What You Can Do

Complete the Service Line Materials Survey Here
    • If the results indicate a potential lead service line, the City will be in touch with next steps. (While the City needs to inventory every service line by October 2024, the initial focus is on older homes built prior to 1980.) If you need assistance completing the survey, email us at waterquality@greeleygov.com or call 970-350-9836.
  • It’s important to note that having a lead service line does not mean you have lead in your water. The City is working on acquiring the equipment to offer free lead testing in the near future for residents whose service line materials are unknown and meet the criteria identified above. If you would like to be added to the lead testing list, please email your first and last name, address, and phone number to waterquality@greeleygov.com. You will be contacted by Greeley staff when free lead testing is available.
  • If you are concerned your service line is made of lead, use a NSF/ANSI certified filter. It is important to use filtered water for drinking, making tea and coffee, cooking food like rice, beans, and soup, and for baby formula. The City of Greeley will provide free filters to select customers whose water tests positive for lead. 
  • Make sure any plumbing fixtures you install are certified as lead-free. 
  • Clean out your faucet aerators. Here’s a video to show you how: https://todayshomeowner.com/video/cleaning-a-faucet-aerator
  • The EPA has additional information and resources online at: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water

How:

How Does Lead and Copper Get into Drinking Water?

Lead and copper can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead and copper. This is known as corrosion – dissolving or wearing away of metal from the pipes and fixtures. This reaction is more severe when the water has high acidity or low mineral content. How much lead enters the water is related to water chemistry and factors such as temperature, pH, alkalinity, and the amount of lead in which the water comes into contact.

Why:

Why Should I Be Concerned?

Health effects of lead:  Increased levels of lead affect children the most. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. Other at-risk populations include pregnant women who can experience reduced growth of the fetus and premature birth. Adults who consume too much lead can experience cardiovascular issues and decreased kidney function. 

Health effects of copper:  The Food and Drug Administration recommends a dietary allowance of 2 milligrams (mg) of copper per day.  However, eating or drinking too much copper can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, liver damage, and kidney disease. People with Wilson’s disease and some infants (babies under 1 year) are extra sensitive to copper. Their bodies are not able to get rid of extra copper easily.

Who:

Who Monitors Public Water Systems for Lead and Copper?

Two main regulatory agencies, the EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), ensure that public water systems are properly monitored for lead and copper. The EPA has revised the Lead and Copper Rule (which is part of the Clean Drinking Water Act) multiple times over the years to better protect public health. When an update is made by EPA, CDPHE also revises Regulation 11.26 to reflect the change. In December 2021, the EPA finalized the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), which further strengthens the protections against lead in drinking water. Greeley Water, and all other water systems, will continue to comply with the current requirements until the LCRR goes into effect on October 16, 2024.

Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1001 11th Avenue, 2nd Floor
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
970-350-9805 fax
water@greeleygov.com


Water Conservation

970-336-4134
970-336-4168 for Water Budget
conserve@greeleygov.com


Water Quality

Taste, odor, or appearance

970-350-9836
waterquality@greeleygov.com


Emergencies

Water 7am-3pm970-350-9320
Sewer 7am-3pm970-350-9322
After hours/ weekends970-616-6260

Other Numbers

Billing970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
Start or stop service970-350-9811 (dial 2 for billing clerk)
Water pressure970-350-9320
Water restrictions & violations970-336-4134
Utility line locates811