K enosha Water Utility
Lead Service Line Replacement
WHAT IS LEAD?
Lead is a metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Exposure to lead has been linked to adverse health effects in infants, young children, and pregnant women, and is potentially harmful to adults. Children under the age of six are the most at risk because their brains are still developing.
The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint in older homes. Wisconsin drinking water sources have little to no measurable lead. However, service lines and old plumbing fixtures made of lead have the potential to leach lead into drinking water. Disturbing or reconnecting to an existing lead service line may increase lead levels in drinking water.
WHAT IS THE LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM?
In 2018 the State Legislature enacted 2017 Wisconsin Act 137, which allowed a utility to provide financial assistance to the owner of a property for the purpose of assisting the owner in replacing a customer-side water service line containing lead. The Board of Water Commissioners and the Common Council of Kenosha determined that it was in the public’s best interest to establish a comprehensive program for removing and replacing all lead service lines within and connected to the Kenosha Water Utility (KWU) water distribution system. The ordinance governing this is Rule 06-06 of Chapter XXXII of the Code of General Ordinances.
Kenosha was the first utility in the State of Wisconsin to seek approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin under the provision of Act 137. Act 137 however limited the financial contribution a utility could provide in the form of a grant to replace a customer-side lead service line containing lead. Wisconsin Statute § 196.372(3)(e)2.a dictates “Grants that are provided as financial assistance to an owner are limited to no more than one-half of the total cost to the owner of replacing the customer-side water service line containing lead.”
The Kenosha Water Utility received approval to implement its Lead Service Line Replacement Program (LSRP) as a 50% grant to homeowners up to $2,000 for the cost of replacing the lead service. In addition, the remaining amount of the cost can be a low interest (3%) loan from the Kenosha Water Utility to the property owner.
This loan is paid back over a 10 year period and is collected annually via the tax roll.
With this program, the Kenosha Water Utility will replace our section of lead pipe from the curb stop in the parkway to the water main in the street. The property owner will hire a pre-approved plumbing contractor to replace the customer-side of the service line. This line is from the curb stop in the parkway to the water meter in the basement of the home.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM?
All property owners who have homes with lead services are eligible for the 50 % LSRP program. Kenosha’s ordinance requires that financial assistance be granted to the eligible property owners in accordance with the following priority:
- Properties with leaking or failed customer-side or Utility-side service lines.
- Properties where KWU is replacing the Utility-side service line, on either a planned or emergency basis.
- Properties where the General Manager has determined that replacing a customer-side service line is in the best interest of health and safety.
- Properties with licensed child care facilities and schools.
- Properties where children under the age of seven (7) or pregnant women reside.
- All remaining properties with customer-side lead service lines.
WHAT HOMES WILL LIKELY HAVE LEAD SERVICE LINES?
Approximately 9,000 properties in the Kenosha Water Utility service area constructed before 1947 may have lead service lines. Buildings in Kenosha constructed after 1947 typically do not have lead service lines.
IS LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT A REQUIREMENT?
All property owners will be required to replace their lead service line eventually. Replacements will be prioritized in the beginning of each year. Roads that are scheduled for reconstruction will mandate that property owners replace their lead service in advance of the roadway construction.
WHAT DOES A LEAD SERVICE LINE LOOK LIKE?
The picture below shows the different types of water service lines. #1 is lead. #2 is iron and is magnetic. #3 is copper. #4 is black/blue polyethylene or HDPE plastic.
HOW DO I DETERMINE IF MY HOME HAS A LEAD SERVICE LINE?
Lead service lines are a dull gray metal that is soft enough to be easily scratched with a house key (see left below). If you are still unsure and want to find out if your home’s service line contains lead, email a picture of your service line prior to the water meter (see right below) to or call the Kenosha Water Utility at (262) 653-4315 to schedule a home visit.
HOW DO I GET SIGNED UP FOR THE LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM?
1. KWU confirms the lead service and that the property is eligible for the program by sending in a picture and providing property address.
2. KWU sends paperwork to the homeowner to get quotes from a contractor to complete the service replacement. Homeowner can get multiple quotes and determines their preferred method of construction.
3. All paperwork is submitted to KWU for approval with homeowner and contractor signature. KWU signs paperwork as approved and sends to homeowner and contractor for scheduling.
4. The work is then scheduled and completed. Homeowner signs paperwork approving the work and submits to KWU & contractor to allow payment from KWU to contractor.
IS THERE ANY OTHER FUNDING AVAILABLE?
In 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program awarded the City of Kenosha $1,950,000 for private lead service line replacements to be used for private lead service replacements in the form of grants. These funds were made available to qualifying homeowners, schools, and daycares to cover the cost of replacing their private lead service, at 100% of the cost up to $6,000 per service. The funds were only available until December 31, 2021.
The KWU has been awarded $2,154,125.00 from the WI DNR to assist homeowners with the removal of lead services. Please reach out to if you believe you may have a lead service. This funding will end on October 31, 2022 and we are unsure what funding will be available in 2023. This program is administered on a first come first serve basis as well as prioritizing road construction and emergency projects.