Water Service Turned Off?

Find out how to get your water turned back on.

Recreational Water Contact Health Advisory

For T. Howard Duckett and Triadelphia Reservoirs

Promise Pay Now Available

Affordable, Flexible, Interest-Free Pay Plans!


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in 1991 to protect public health and reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes and brass or bronze faucets and fixtures.

Until now there have only been small revisions, but in December 2021, EPA’s  Lead and Copper Rule Revisions were made effective. As part of the updated rule, all community water systems, which includes WSSC Water, are required to submit an initial service line inventory by October 16, 2024.

The inventory currently underway at WSSC Water must identify the material(s) of service lines (underground pipes that connect your home to WSSC Water’s water main) and categorize the service line materials. The inventory will be available to customers.

Do the revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule mean I have lead pipes?  

No.  A primary purpose of the revisions to the LCR is simply to identify the material of all water service lines to enhance customer awareness. Identifying out-of-date materials, including lead, is the first step toward eliminating them from the distribution system.  

Does WSSC Water have lead pipes in its system?

No. In 2005, WSSC Water conducted an aggressive search to find and replace any lead pipes in its distribution system. These pipes are on public property, owned and maintained by WSSC Water.

What does WSSC Water do to prevent lead from entering my drinking water?

Despite the relatively low risk, WSSC Water adds a corrosion inhibitor, orthophosphate, to the water supply, which creates a protective coating on the inside of pipes (including those on customer's property). While it is possible that some homes may have lead service lines or other sources of lead on private property, WSSC Water’s corrosion control methods can reduce the amount of lead leaching into water from these sources.

As a WSSC Water customer, how do I know my water is safe?

  • For 105 years and counting, WSSC Water has never had a drinking water quality violation. (Latest Water Quality Report)
  • We perform 500,000 tests annually to ensure our water is safe, clean, and satisfying.
  • We also perform triennial customer tap sampling for lead and copper as required by LCR.
  • The level of lead in 90% of homes we tested in 2020 is less than the analytical limit of 1 ppb, versus the EPA’s Action Level of 15 ppb. In most homes, lead was not detected or present in only a small traceable amount. Copper level in 90% of homes was less than 0.117 mg/L, well below the EPA’s Action Level of 1.3 mg/L. WSSC Water is currently conducting the latest round of triennial monitoring, and the most recent results will be available in early October 2023.
  • WSSC Water adds a corrosion inhibitor, orthophosphate, to the water supply to create a protective coating, preventing pipes from leaching lead.
  • WSSC has no known lead pipes in the public space it maintains.
  • WSSC Water plumbing requirements have not included lead as a permitted material since 1954. 

How does lead get into drinking water?

Lead is seldom found as a natural contaminant in drinking water and generally originates from lead-based plumbing materials. Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials containing lead corrode over time. These materials include pipes made of lead, lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, and brass and chrome-plated brass faucets. Lead service lines are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. 

Do all lead service lines contaminate drinking water?  

Not necessarily. All lead service lines have the potential to leach (release) lead into drinking water, but WSSC Water carefully manages the water chemistry in the distribution system to prevent this. WSSC Water operates an EPA-approved corrosion control treatment (addition of a corrosion inhibitor, orthophosphate, to the water entering the distribution system), which forms a protective layer on the pipe to help prevent release of lead.  

Who do I contact if I don’t know what kind of pipes are on my property?

If customers live in older homes and suspect they may have lead service lines, they should contact a WSSC Water registered plumber to determine if their homes contain lead pipes or contact WSSC Water at 301-206-4002 about having their water tested.

What steps can customers take to mitigate the risk of lead in their drinking water?

While WSSC Water has not seen any lead levels requiring corrective measures, we recommend the following steps to further reduce the risks:

  • Run your water to flush out any potential lead content:  If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run water for 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula:  Hot water is more likely to cause lead leaching that could contaminate water drawn from the faucet.
  • Periodically remove debris from faucet strainers – we recommend twice a year:  Remove the faucet strainers/screens from the faucet you use for consumption, rinse off the strainer, and run the water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Have an electrician check the grounding in your home:  Contact a licensed electrician to check if grounding wires from the electrical system are connected to your water pipes (which may increase the corrosion of metals in the plumbing).  If so, see if wires can be grounded elsewhere.
  • Get your child tested:  Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.


Last Modified: September 28, 2023, 2:27 pm EDT