Water Service Lines
Underground is a network of pipes that supply public drinking water to homes, schools, businesses, and properties. A water service line is a pipe that transports water from the water main in the street to private property. The City is responsible to maintain water infrastructure within the City right-of-way, which is typically from the middle of the street to the back of the sidewalk or 8' to 10' from the edge of the pavement. The City maintains the water service line from the water main in the street up to the curb box (water shut off), while the property owner is responsible to maintain the rest of the water service line after the curb box.
Visit our Water Distribution page to learn more about service lines and distribution infrastructure: www.concordnh.gov/waterdistribution.
Service Line Materials
Water service lines can be made of copper, plastic, brass, galvanized steel, or lead. The use of lead pipes and solder became banned in 1986, but older homes may still find lead present in the original plumbing. In Concord, water service lines are typically made of copper pipe. The City of Concord proactively replaced any known lead pipes in the public City water system. However, it's still possible for lead service lines or lead-lined galvanized steel to exist within a property owner's private property. The City of Concord strongly encourages residents to identify and replace any lead pipes or plumbing materials.
Service Line Inventory
New federal EPA requirements have been issued to require all water systems across the United States to create and maintain a public inventory of service line materials by October 16, 2024, in compliance with the revised Lead and Copper Rule. This new regulation was developed to better protect communities from possible exposure to lead in drinking water by providing the public with information on what material each water line service is made of for every home on a public water supply in the country.
In Concord, there are approximately 12,000 service connections. The City is aware of the material components comprised of the City water service lines and also has records of most of the private water service lines that are maintained by property owners. However, there are approximately 1,500 private water service lines maintained by property owners that the City does not have accurate records for and will be working to collect information on. These property owners will be contacted by the City with a letter to inform them of the service line inventory project and to coordinate an appointment time for City staff to inspect their service lines. This will require staff to enter the property and inspect the water service line where it enters into the basement, before the water meter. There will be no cost for this work and it will be completed quickly in approximately 10 minutes. Once the material of the service line is determined, records will be updated and shared with the property owner. If lead pipes or plumbing materials are identified or assumed on the property, the City will provide recommendations to the property owner.
This project started in May 2023 and will continue through September 2024, with designated employees dedicated to this effort. Letters are being sent to properties with unknown private water service lines. The City appreciates cooperation to set up an appointment to update these records.
The inventory of service line materials will be published when completed by October 16, 2024.
Self-Checking & Reporting Your Service Line
You can take the following steps to inspect your own service line and report your findings to the City of Concord’s Water Treatment Facility:
1. Locate Your Service Line
Find the water meter in your basement or crawl space and inspect the service line that enters your home before the meter.
2. Scratch Test – Determine Your Pipe Material
Use a house key or coin to carefully scratch the pipe’s surface. Compare and match the scratched area to the following pipe descriptions:
A copper pipe is the same color as a penny. Older copper pipes may show colors of green or blue. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.
- Galvanized Steel
A galvanized steel pipe is black, dull gray, or silver with threaded ends and will have no noticeable scratch on the surface. A magnet will stick to a galvanized steel pipe.
A lead pipe is dull gray or silver and soft, which will leave a noticeable shiny scratch on the surface. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.
A plastic pipe is smooth and usually white, black, red, or blue. A magnet will not stick to a plastic pipe.
3. Take a Photo
Take a picture showing the material of your service line after completing the scratch test. The scratched surface (on the section of the pipe between where the pipe enters your property and the water meter) should be visible in your photo.
4. Report Your Service Line Material
Please complete this form below and send us your photo to notify us of your service line material.
Thank you for taking the time to complete this important test to identify the service line on your property. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us.
Water Quality & Compliance
The City of Concord has complied with the federal Lead and Copper Rule since its inception in 1991. It's our mission to provide Concord with drinking water that is of higher quality than all current state and federal water quality standards. For more information about water quality, please visit www.concordnh.gov/waterquality.
- Lead in Drinking Water (NHDES): https://www.des.nh.gov/water/drinking-water/lead
- Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water (EPA): https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water