Straight from the Tap

Doing Our Part to Make Cleveland Lead Safe


The health and safety of our customers and community are of utmost importance to us. That’s why we’re taking part in the United Way’s Lead Safe Home Summit.

Like many older water systems, some homes and businesses in the Cleveland Water system may have lead service lines or plumbing that contains lead. We take the risks associated with lead pipes seriously. 

We’re providing important information on all the ways we’re working to reduce lead in our system and protect you and your family. These efforts have been successful at reducing the potential for exposure to lead from water.

We also want to empower our customers with information to know the potential for lead in your home’s plumbing system. Having this information will help you determine what, if any, further action to take in order to ensure the highest quality drinking water comes out of your tap.

To see our full presentation on what we’re doing and what you can do at home click here.

Below is a summary of helpful information and tips.

What We Do

  • ADD ORTHOPHOSPHATE: We add a chemical called orthophosphate to the water during the treatment process. It forms a protective coating on the inside of pipes, reducing the likelihood of lead dissolving into the water.
  • CONTROL PH: We keep water's pH above to 7 to help control corrosion. Water that has a pH below 7 (on the pH scale of 0 to 14) is more acidic and therefore more likely to corrode metal. 
  • REPLACE: We replace lead city-owned service lines during main replacement and repair projects.
  • MONITOR: We regularly test lead levels in customers homes to ensure our engineering and treatment methods are effective.

What You Can Do

  • CHECK Our Service Line: Use our Check Your Connection tool to learn if your city-owned service line is likely to be lead. The city-owned portion of the service line extends from the water main in the street to the shut-off valve near your sidewalk or tree lawn.
  • TEST Your Service Line: You can determine the type of material your portion of the service line is made of by performing the magnet and penny test.  Once you determine what your service line is made of, record your results using our online Lead Reporting Tool.
  • Know the DATE of Your Plumbing: Knowing the age of plumbing and fixtures in your home will help you determine the likelihood that they contain lead. If your plumbing or fixtures were installed before 1986, there’s the potential that lead exits in the pipes or solder. Brass faucets manufactured between 1986 and 2014 could contain up to 8% lead.
  • FLUSH Your Plumbing: Flush your cold water lines before consuming water when water has not been used for 6 or more hours. You should also flush your water lines after any work on your plumbing system or disruptions in water service.
  • CLEAN Faucet Aerators: Aerators should be cleaned at least twice a year and after any work on your plumbing system or disruptions in water service.
  • CONSUME COLD Water: Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and preparing baby formula. Hot water corrodes pipes faster and is, therefore, more likely to contain lead. If you need hot water for food or drinks, get water from the cold water tap then heat the water.