Identifying Service Line Material
Identifying the material of a service line can be challenging: local plumbing codes vary and different pipe material and fittings were used during different decades. The materials available today were not necessarily available decades ago.
Lead pipe at a curbstop. Source: Philadelphia Water
While lead is visibly different from other metals routinely used for water pipes, test kits approved by EPA to test for lead paint can be used to test for lead on the surface of service lines. Information on lead testing resources are available at:
Visual scratch testing
Lead is a dull gray color and very soft. If scraped with a key it will turn a bright silver color. Even a very strong magnet will not stick to lead.
DC Water: Understanding your Water Service Pipe
Source: DC Water
More information concerning testing and identifying service line material is available at the following links:
Cincinnati Water: Visual Scratch Test
Source: Cincinnati Water