City plans to replace approximately 2,037 lead lines in 2023

Published on January 26, 2023

Lead Service Line Diagram

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – In 2017, the City of Grand Rapids Water System began proactively replacing lead service lines at no cost to homeowners and commercial properties. The City replaced the lead service line on private property, between the curb box and water meter, with copper water services in addition to sidewalk and lawn restoration while conducting repairs to a water leak or a planned street construction project. It has budgeted $6 million annually for lead line replacements since 2017, with larger investments planned for the coming years.

In previous years, lead service line replacement on private property had been the responsibility of the homeowner. The City took on this responsibility for eligible homeowners to more equitably serve the community by fast-tracking lead service replacement.

In 2020, the program got a boost thanks to a $5.1 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help replace approximately 1,600 private lead service lines in the Neighborhoods of Focus. In 2021, the City of Grand Rapids Water System received an additional $10 million from the State of Michigan to replace 1,448 lead lines in 2023 and 2024.

To date, 3,100 lead service lines have been replaced since 2017 and 23,000 lead lines remain citywide. Despite the progress, water system officials say there is much more to do before the State mandate requiring all cities to replace its lead lines by 2040.

“The City of Grand Rapids Water System has a long history of protecting the public’s health and delivering high-quality drinking water,” Wayne Jernberg, Water System Manager, said. “Lake Michigan is a stable and dependable source of drinking water for the city.”

Jernberg explained that the Lake Michigan Filtration Plant, located in West Olive, MI, treats and pumps an average of 36 million gallons of water daily. The treated drinking water from the filtration plant is lead-free when it leaves the plant and remains lead-free as it moves through the underground distribution system. When the drinking water reaches an older home or commercial structure, it is possible that lead particles from the privately owned lead water service line or interior plumbing fixtures may enter the drinking water. Before 1950, it was common for water service lines to be made of lead.                                                    

“Since 1994, the City has treated the water with an orthophosphate blend to limit pipe corrosion and reduce the potential for lead in your water,” he said. “We also test the drinking water annually for lead at 50 homes throughout the city every year. The lead test results are reported on our website and have consistently been below the allowable levels set by the State of Michigan and the federal government.  We also monitor the water quality daily both at our plant and at over 40 locations in our distribution system.  We continue to meet all regulatory standards set for our water and are proud of our excellent water quality.”

To see more information on what the City tests for in your water and the results, CLICK HERE.

A mapping tool is available at, to search property addresses to find the material of water service lines.  The Grand Rapids Water System website has for more information about the annual lead sampling program and steps one can take to minimize lead exposure. 

2023 Replacement Schedule

In 2023, the City plans to replace approximately 2,037 lead lines, the most it has ever planned to replace in a single year. The replacements are scheduled for the following streets:

Streets                                              Boundaries

9th St NW

Fremont to Alpine

Alto Ave SE

Worden to Franklin

Ballard St SE

Kalamazoo to Giddings

Benjamin Ave SE

Hope to Fulton

Beulah St SE

Lafayette to Madison

Cesar E Chavez Ave SW

Beacon to MLK

Coit Ave NE

Bradford to Matilda

Courtney St NW

Valley to Garfield

Courtney St NW

Garfield to Tamarack

Crescent St NE

Grand to Fuller

Dean St NE

Monroe to Oakwood

Deloney Ave NW

W Fulton to Veto

Dickinson St SE

Kalamazoo to Giddings

Emerald Ave NE

Leonard to Sweet

Fremont Ave NW

Myrtle to Webster

Fremont Ave NW

7th to 9th

Garfield Ave NW

Walker to 12th

Gilbert St SE

Madison to Paris

Giddings Ave SE

Burton to Boston

Graceland St NE

Monroe to Diamond

Grand Ave NE

Flat to Lydia

Grand Ave NE

Frontage Road to Flat

Grand Ave NE

Hawthorne to Parkwood

Griggs St SE

Kalamazoo to Giddings

Gunnison Ave SW

Butterworth to Park

Harlan Ave NE

Frontage Road to Flat

Jackson St NW

Valley to Garfield; Lane to Jackson Pl

Kenwood St NE

Oakwood to Plainfield

Lafayette Ave NE

Dean to Burr Oak

Linden Ave SE

Griggs to Dickinson

Milton St SE

Carlton to Norwood

Neland Ave SE

Bates to Thomas

Norwich Ave SW

Curve to Hayden

Orville St SE

Kalamazoo to Giddings

Page, Carrier, Lister St NE

Plainfield to Lafayette (approx.)

Park St SW

John Ball Park to Richards

Patton Ave NW

Bristol to Walker

Pine Ave NW

Walker to 10th

Plainfield Ave NE

Marywood to Ellsmere

State St SE

Lafayette to Madison

Travis St NE

Coit to Lafayette

Turner Ave NW

7th to 8th and Webster to Richmond

Union Ave NE

Lyon to Crescent

Wilbert Ave NE

Ann to Dean


Additional street sections may be added to this list during the year if additional funds become available.  Tenants and property owners will receive a letter, door hanger, or call informing them of their upcoming lead line replacement and the steps to begin the process. If one receives the letter, it is extremely important that you contact the Grand Rapids Water Department as soon as possible so it can obtain your permission to replace the lead service line on your property. 

To find out if your home is scheduled for a lead line replacement within the next 24 months, email the Grand Rapids Water Department at

Minimizing Lead Exposure

Prevention is the best way to protect oneself and their family. Below are steps that help minimize lead exposure from drinking water that passes through a lead service line or interior plumbing fixtures: 

  • Only use cold water for drinking, cooking, making ice, beverages, and infant formula. Note: Boiling water does not remove lead from water. 
  • If one has a lead service line or if there is a pregnant woman or children aged six and under in the home, consider buying a filter that meets NSF standard 53 (look for the NSF marking on the packaging). When using a filter, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for maintenance and replacement.
  • If water has not been used for a few hours, run the kitchen or bathroom faucet for at least 5 minutes. One can also run the dishwasher, shower, or use a washing machine.
  • Remove faucet aerators at least once every six months and clean them out. Small particles may accumulate on the screens.

A licensed plumber can help identify the materials in your home plumbing system and inform you of alternate lead-free approved materials for household plumbing. Visit for more information about lead-free plumbing products.

In some homes, lead in water is not the only potential source of exposure for young children. Lead-based paint, lead in soil, and lead dust are significant risk factors for children living in pre-1978 housing. Learn more about all potential sources of lead exposure at

The City remains committed to public health, delivering high-quality drinking water, and eliminating all lead service lines for the health and safety of you and your loved ones.

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