Pennsylvania American Water Launches Water Service Line Project
Pennsylvania American Water wants to get rid of lead water lines — but to do so, it will need customers’ help.
The company has announced it has reached the customer information-gathering phase of its statewide service line material inventory project and is asking customers to “pipe up” and tell the company what their water service lines are made of.
Using these data, the company will publish a public-facing online map of service line material types and locations by October 2024, with the goal of ultimately removing identified lead and certain galvanized water lines from service.
Starting the week of Jan. 30, customers whose service line material is unknown to Pennsylvania American Water will be sent a postcard in the mail with information on how to participate in this important identification effort. Customers can respond on the website featured on the postcard or by calling the number provided, which goes directly to the company’s project management firm, Greeley and Hansen.
As part of this survey, customers will be asked to answer a few questions about their water service line and upload a photo of their service line material, if possible.
“Determining what material every customer’s service line is made of — including the lines owned by them and not just by us — is a massive undertaking, and we’re asking our customers to take this request seriously and please respond so we can take action accordingly,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Justin Ladner. “Although our company is in compliance with lead action levels in water due to our effective treatment controls, we believe that identifying and ultimately removing lead lines from service is the right thing to do for the health, safety and peace of mind of our customers.”
What is a water service line?
A water service line is a pipe that connects a customer’s house or building to the water main in the street. Typically, the service line is less than two inches in diameter and is made of various material.
The most common material in use is copper; however, other materials have been used including galvanized steel, iron, plastic, and lead.
Pennsylvania American Water owns a portion of the service line, typically from the main to the curb stop, found near the street curb or sidewalk. The property owner owns the rest of the service line, from the curb stop all the way into the house or building.
How is the service line material data being gathered?
The company’s service line inventory project contractor, Greeley and Hansen, will be available by phone to answer questions about the inventory and identification process and can help customers schedule an in-home inspection to verify their service line material type, if needed.
In addition to customer surveys, the project includes reviewing existing records, predictive modeling, and conducting field investigations, which can include in-home inspections and digging test pits to look at service lines.
All contractors representing Pennsylvania American Water in the field will be wearing logoed, high-visibility vests and carrying official photo ID badges. The company urges customers to participate in this important information-gathering project, while also being vigilant to check for proper identification before allowing anyone self-identifying as a utility representative into their. homes.
Why is the company undertaking this project?
The project is driven by EPA regulations that require water utilities to identify and publicly map lead service lines, which, for many utilities, will be the first step toward a proactive lead service line replacement program. Pennsylvania American Water already has a robust lead service line replacement program and has replaced more than 250 lead service lines to date. The company plans to invest approximately $15 million in 2023 to replace lead service lines, and the program will continue into future years.
The company requested approval from the PA Public Utility Commission for a customer-side lead service line replacement program, citing that systematically replacing customer-owned lead service lines is a reasonable, cost-effective way to help avoid customer health and safety concerns associated with lead service lines.
How can I “pipe up” and provide my service line material?
If you receive a postcard in the mail, scan the QR code or visit the website tinyurl.com/pawcsurvey. Customers can also provide the information by phone at 877-201-7926.
Learn more at Pennsylvania American Water.
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