Water Treatment Plant

Lead Water Service Line Information

Welcome to the City of Big Rapids Lead Water Service Line Information Page

As a resident of City of Big Rapids, this is your source for information regarding water service line’s containing lead and their activities.  Please use this page, and the linked resources, to learn about the issues and responses related to these services lines in the City of Big Rapids.

State rule requires replacement of water service lines containing lead over 20 years; City of Big Rapids water tests are consistently safe. 

Homeowners need to be aware of a new State mandate that requires all cities in Michigan over the next 20 years to replace water service lines that may contain lead. This State rule will impact hundreds of homes in Big Rapids in the next two decades because water service lines are on private property. 

The water service lines between the sidewalk and the house are the responsibility of the private home owner, not the City. However, the rule requires the City to replace the lead water service line from the City water line (usually in the street) to 18 inches inside the basement.  

City of Big Rapids drinking water is safe

Lead has been in the news because of the Flint water crisis, and this State rule is in response to publicity about that situation.  However, repeated and regular testing has determined that water coming into Big Rapids homes meets federal safety standards.

This water service line replacement program is required by the State rule affecting all of Michigan. It is not because of any identified problem with Big Rapids drinking water.

The City of Big Rapids, regularly test the water delivered to similar homes to confirm that the water meets all safety standards.  For 30 years, the City has also tested the water inside a sample of homes to verify the same results.

Note that every home’s plumbing system is different and may have an impact on water quality levels. The City of Big Rapids, Public Works Department, can be contacted to evaluate the materials in an individual home’s plumbing system to determine if any improvements are warranted.

Background on State rule regarding water service lines replacement

Former Governor Snyder signed a Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in June 2018 requiring all cities in Michigan to replace all lead water service lines. The water service lines must be replaced from the City-owned water mains within the street to 18 inches inside individual houses. The rule allows a 20-year replacement program, beginning in January 2020.

How is the City of Big Rapids Impacted?

The below photo is a small piece of lead pipe, known as a “gooseneck” was used on service lines for water service lines in houses built before the 1950s, and Big Rapids has many homes from that era.


 The below image is the typical location of the lead gooseneck and how it may connect to a service line.


Historical data indicates of 2,588 connections, the City has information that 151 connections likely have water service lines that are may contain lead goosenecks, and estimates that more will fall into that category. 

How to determine your water service line material

Because of the extensive nature of this state-mandated program, City employees will be going to most homes over the next several years, and will need to gain entry to homes to verify and document the composition of each house’s service line material. Employees will also need to determine its physical location and any obstacles affecting its eventual replacement.

You can contact the Department of Public Works directly at 231-592-4015 or complete this survey to request a City of Big Rapids employee to determine the type of material used in your service line.

Replacement Timeline

The Lead Copper Rule requires water systems to begin replacements in 2021, and continue to replace lines at a rate of 5% per year. The city will coordinate service line replacements with water main and road projects to minimize road and service disruptions. The city will also replace leaking service lines as they are discovered. If your line does meet criteria for replacement, the city will notify you during the year you are scheduled for replacement. Please be patient and remember we are coordinating replacements with road projects, so we do not have a long-term detailed schedule.


Big Rapids is well positioned to implement recent changes to the Lead Copper Rule because we are one of the communities who have been consistently below the regulated action levels.  The city monitors the water supply annually. Specific results are available in the City's annual drinking water quality report .

Want to learn more about how to reduce lead exposure and clean faucet aerators?