Lead Service Line Verification and Replacement Program

Lead Service Line Verification and Replacement Program

If you own a home, you’ve probably replaced appliances, furniture, and maybe a faucet or two. But most people have likely never replaced their water service line – the pipe that brings water into your home. That’s what the City of Ferndale is in the process of doing for the estimated 30% of homes and properties that contain full or partial lead service lines.

Water Service Line Material Investigation Program

The City of Ferndale was awarded a Drinking Water Asset Management grant from the State of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. These grant funds will be utilized to fulfill the State’s requirements and no expense will be incurred for our water customers.

As required by the amended lead and copper provisions of the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act, a Preliminary Distribution System Materials Inventory was required to be submitted to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) by January 1, 2020. This inventory was based on the best t available information available to the utility at the time. A Complete Distribution System Materials Inventory is required to be submitted to EGLE by January 1, 2025. For the Complete Distribution System Materials Inventory, water supplies must develop an inventory that “characterizes and documents water service line materials and provides demonstration through physical verifications that the inventory is accurate”. EGLE recently provided guidance that sets parameters by which water supplies will need to define their water service line materials and the process for quantifying and identifying a “randomly selected sample” of water service lines that will require physical verification.

To evaluate the accuracy of existing service line material information across the entire City water system and develop this Complete Distribution System Materials Inventory, EGLE’s “Minimum Service Line Material Verification Requirements” stipulate that a random number of service lines must be physically verified both inside the home and at the curb stop (which is typically located at the property line in front of your home or business) or points 1, 2 & 3 on the below illustration.

This list of addresses was required to be created using a random number generator. Based on the number of service connections, the City is required to physically verify the water service line material at 363 random addresses throughout the water system.

Once the physical verifications are complete, the City will review the information collected, extrapolate the data, and predict the water service line materials of the homes and businesses that were not physically verified. This predictive analysis will be based on verified service lines in the vicinity, home built year, location, water main age, and other applicable factors. This evaluation will help the City complete its Complete Distribution System Materials Inventory in compliance with the revised Michigan Lead and Copper Rule.

The City has contracted with one of our engineering firms, Hubbell, Roth & Clark (HRC), to schedule and complete the verification work. HRC mailed out notices in November to schedule an appointment to verify the service line material in your home. You can schedule an appointment at

We appreciate your assistance in helping us complete this verification program.

Why is the City of Ferndale replacing service lines?

The water Ferndale delivers to customers is safe, yet lead can get into the water if it passes through a lead service line. Lead in drinking water can cause health problems for people of all ages, particularly pregnant women, infants, and young children. The surest way to protect against lead in water is to get the lead out altogether – that’s where the replacement of service lines comes in.

How is the City deciding on a replacement schedule?

For the best use of resources—environmental, fiscal, and beyond—the City will verify and replace lead service lines based on existing scheduled construction work:

  • Road improvement plan
  • Water main improvement plan
  • Capital improvement plan

This way, lead service line replacements can be done along with the work already happening on your streets or water mains, allowing for fewer periods of construction noise, service interruptions, etc.

When will I be notified?

If your service line is scheduled for replacement in 2023, the City will mail you a letter in later winter letting you know. You'll then receive a follow-up letter and subsequent door-hanger as your construction time approaches.

What does the replacement work entail?

  • The contractor will need access to your home and the location of your water meter.
  • Your property’s lead service line will be replaced with a copper water service line.
  • The replacement should take about three hours to complete.
  • While work is being performed, your property will not have access to water.
  • A portion of your lawn/front yard will be disturbed during the process—restoration will be provided at no cost to you.
  • COVID-19 safety precautions will be strictly adhered to, including masks/PPE and social distancing.


  1. See the Lead Service Line Replacement book.
  2. View the February 8, 2021, DPW presentation to City Council.
  3. Visit the City's Lead and Your Drinking Water information page.


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