Program Overview

OCWA—Central New York’s Water Authority— is committed to combating lead in drinking water by identifying the type of materials used to construct all customer water service lines throughout our five-county territory. This effort is being made in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised “Lead and Copper Rule” requiring public water systems nationwide to create an initial service line inventory by October 16, 2024. In addition, under the recently proposed “Lead and Copper Rule Improvements” (LCRI), all water systems would be required to regularly update their inventories, create a publicly available service line replacement plan, and identify the materials of all service lines of unknown material.

Lead in drinking source water is relatively rare, and OCWA continuously takes multiple proactive steps to prevent lead from entering our water system. However, lead can enter tap water when home or business plumbing materials containing lead corrode.

It is important to understand that ownership of water service lines is shared between homeowners and OCWA. OCWA owns the portion of the water service line from the water main to the shutoff valve located at the property line. Customers are responsible for the portion of the service line from the outlet side of the shutoff valve to the water meter or main shutoff valve inside their home, as well as their home’s internal plumbing and fixtures.

*REQUEST FOR ACTION*

To help OCWA identify all customer service lines, we encourage you to utilize the resources provided below to determine if you have a lead service line. Please take a few moments to identify the service line materials in your home and report the information to OCWA. Your cooperation will help ensure accurate updates to our service line material inventory as we plan future lead service line replacement initiatives throughout our community.

Thank you for your participation!



Service Line Map

Program Resources

Use the links above to:

  • Check the interactive map to see what service line material information OCWA has on file for your property.
  • Find out how to identify your service line material.
  • Submit your service line material form.
Once you have determined your water service line materials you can submit your results two ways:

When filling out the online survey you will be asked to submit photos. The two photos you may submit are:

  • close-up picture of your service line where you performed the test; and
  • a picture showing the entire service line, from where it comes through the wall or floor to and including the meter.


Additional Resources

Click Here to open a very helpful article from NPR outlining the service material identification process.

Please see the following video from the American Water Works Association – Together, Let’s Get the Lead Out!



Facts About Lead In Water

Lead is rare in source drinking water because it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies. Lead gets into drinking water mostly as a result of the corrosion of materials that contain lead such as lead piping, lead solder, or brass plumbing fixtures. Drinking water that contains lead can be harmful, especially for young children and pregnant women.

OCWA’s source waters contain no detectable amount of lead. Any lead that is present at your tap comes from exposure to the pipes used to convey water into your home. This is why it is important to determine what kind of pipes are in your home.

OCWA customers get their water from one of three sources: Lake Ontario, Otisco Lake, or Skaneateles Lake. All three of these source waters are treated to minimize the leaching of lead from piping and fixtures. Waters from Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes add a corrosion inhibiter, Orthophosphate, to minimize lead from leaching. Lake Ontario water is treated with Caustic Soda, which also controls the ability of lead to leach from pipes.

OCWA has been testing for lead in accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule, effective since 1991, and has consistently tested well below the action level. To review OCWA’s most recent Lead analysis results, please see the most recent Annual Water Quality Report located under the Water Quality tab on OCWA’s website or click here to access the report.

OCWA is responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. In 1986, lead was banned from being used in pipe and solder for drinking water systems, but in older homes where lead is present in pipe and solder connections it may dissolve into the water after the water sits for long periods of time. If you suspect you have a lead service line, you may want to conduct the following steps to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water:

  1. Any time the water has been sitting unused for more than 6 hours, such as when you first wake up or return from work or school, flush your cold water taps before drinking it for 30 seconds to two minutes or, until the water temperature stays constant.
  2. Use only water from the cold water tap for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Hot water may contain higher levels of lead.
  3. Install a filter that is approved for reducing lead by the National Sanitation Foundation (www.nsf.org) and maintain or replace the filter as directed by the manufacturer.

You can’t see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure lead levels. If you would like your water tested for lead, you can contact a Certified Laboratory where tests may cost in the $20 to $100 per tap range. A list of certified laboratories can be found at https://apps.health.ny.gov/pubdoh/applinks/wc/elappublicweb/, be sure to select one approved for potable water.

For more information on Lead, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791 or http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead