Water Service Line Leaks Waste Water, Imperil Health

By: Bill Eller

Our communities have an aging infrastructure problem, and water line leaks waste trillions of gallons of water each year. Research has shown that water service lines made of materials such as lead, copper and galvanized steel will reach the end of their usable lifespans quicker than lines made of newer materials, such as thermoplastics.

Dr. Juneseok Lee, former California Water Service Co-Chair at San Jose State University, studied water service lines using ten years of national water service line failure data provided by HomeServe USA. Galvanized and copper water lines saw a construction heyday through from the 1950s through the 1970s, and many of those water service lines are now failing. PVC, poly and copper lines have been most popular in modern construction and their failure rates are estimated to peak through 2035.

Meanwhile, water line leaks in some systems are siphoning away almost a third of the water treated for drinking – and these water service line leaks are the greatest weak point in many municipal systems but are not within a utility’s purview.

Water service lines can also cause health issues – for example, copper water lines can leach copper into water, and lines that have been soldered with lead can leach lead into water as well. Galvanized water service lines can corrode, reducing pressure and allowing the water to be contaminated with bacteria and chemicals – all after it has passed out of a municipal system and into the homeowner’s plumbing.

For more insights on water service lines and how they can impact the health and pocketbook of your residents, download our white paper.

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