Lead Service Lines

While Albany's water mains do not contain lead, the water service line running from the water main to your home may be made of lead, especially if your house was built before 1940. Read FAQs on lead service lines. 

Find Out if You Have a Lead Service Line

Complete the steps outlined below and submit your results.  View printable instructions (PDF).

You will need a:

  • Key or a coin
  • Strong refrigerator magnet

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Find the water meter in your basement. Look at the pipe that comes through the outside wall of your home and connects to your meter.
  2. Carefully scratch the pipe (like you would a lottery ticket) with a key or a coin. Do not use a knife or other sharp tool. Note: If pipe is painted, use sandpaper to expose the metal first.
  3. Place the magnet on the pipe.
  4. Take a photo of the scratched pipe and submit your results in the form below.

Types of Pipes

Testing a lead pipe by scratching it with a pennyLead Pipe

A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe. Scratch the pipe with a coin. If the scraped area is shiny silver and flakes off, the service line is lead.  



Testing a copper pipe by scratching it with a pennyCopper Pipe

A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe. Scratch the pipe with a penny. If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. 



Testing a galvanized steel pipe with a magnetGalvanized Steel Pipe

If a magnet sticks to the surface, your service line is galvanized steel. A scratch test is not needed. If you scratch the pipe, it will remain dull gray.