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York Water Company offers to replace lead pipes in homes at no cost

While an EPA report highlights how far Pennsylvania has to go before lead pipes are gone, the York-based water service provider said it's ahead of the curve.

YORK, Pa. — The York Water Company is no stranger to updating its infrastructure. The first pipe ever installed in York, simply a log with a hole in it, was put in the ground in 1816. 

President J.T. Hand said the company has made many changes in the more than 200 years since, including removing a harmful metal from use.

"We have been replacing lead service lines since the early 1980s," Hand said.

A new EPA report revealed Pennsylvania has almost 700,000 lead service lines in use, which could cause a range of long-term health problems, especially in children. It comes as Pennsylvania received $265 million in federal grants to replace lead pipes.

While it could help municipalities cut out the problem, the York Water Company said it's already taken care of it.

"Where the York Water Company serves, the 54 municipalities across three counties that we serve, there are no known company-owned lead service lines," Hand said.

The York Water Company said it knows exactly what's going on from the water mains in the road to access points on many city sidewalks. 

Now, it's requesting customers check the service lines that run underneath the concrete into their homes. Those could be made of lead.

"That's really where we need our customers' help in identifying what the material is on the customer side of the service," Hand said.

You can check the service lines coming into your home by finding the pipes connected to the water meter in your basement. Copper pipes are a brownish color and galvanized steel is easy to spot.

"You know it's steel because if you take a magnet, the magnet will stick to it," he said. 

If it's lead? "That same magnet, it doesn't stick," Hand continued.

The EPA is now requiring all water providers to keep track of what each customer's service line is made out of. The data must be collected by 2026.

York Water Company is going one step further.

"In the event, it's a lead service line, the York Water Company will replace the customer-owned lead service line at no cost to the customer," Hand said.

For more information, visit the York Water Company website or call 717-845-3601.

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