Is lead a problem in South Bend's water supply?

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Is lead a problem in South Bend's water supply?

Lead is a toxic metal that is not good for anyone, but is especially harmful to children while they are in their mother's womb and while they are young. South Bend Water Works distributes high quality water with no lead to the community. However, if you have lead in your service line or in the pipes in your home, it is possible for lead to get into your water under certain circumstances. There was a time when lead was considered the ideal material for plumbing. If your home was built before 1970, it is likely that a portion of your service line and/or the plumbing in your home contains some lead. In South Bend, the homeowner owns the entire water service line.

Is South Bend's water corrosive to lead pipes?

The water itself is not corrosive to lead pipes. Lead testing has been done on water from hundreds of homes in the city since 1992. This testing as well as other water quality parameter testing has shown that South Bend's water is not corrosive, which means it should not cause metals from pipes to enter the water under normal use. However, it is important to know that things within your home and your water use habits can have an effect on your water quality.

If I have lead plumbing, what can I do to minimize my risk of having lead in my water?

Always use cold water for drinking and cooking. Hot water is more likely to have lead than cold water.

  • Avoid drinking softened water. Metals from your pipes are more likely to dissolve into soft water than into hard water.
  • Allow the cold water to run for at least 30 seconds before using if it has been sitting in the pipes for several hours. To conserve water, keep the flushed water for watering plants or doing dishes. You can also fill pitchers with fresh water to avoid flushing every day.
  • Remove and clean your faucet aerators/screens on a regular basis to remove any particles that may have come from your pipes. While the aerator is off, flush the cold water for 3 to 5 minutes.

How can I get my water tested for lead?

If you are a South Bend Water Works customer, the City will test your water free of charge.  Email or call 311 to request a lead test kit.  We will drop off the kit with instructions at your home and come back to pick it up once you let us know that you have sampled.  

How do I get more information about lead in drinking water?

View the Homeowner's Guide to Managing Lead in Drinking Water.

For information from the Environmental Protection Agency, click here.

For additional questions, call 311 or email




311 Process Notes

Please create a service request in enQuesta for the water quality work queue for all water quality calls.  Please forward calls with additional questions about lead or requests for test kits to 5994.