Renewal of service lines is an important aspect of asset management and water resource management. Leaks on service lines waste water and also can lead to disturbance of bedding around water mains that can result in premature failure of the water main. Hence, replacement of service lines is common when the useful life of the asset has been reached. This generally occurs when there is knowledge of a failure (leaks or breaks), when the adjacent water main is being replaced or renewed through cleaning and lining or if the service line is in conflict with other infrastructure work in the street..

What is a Water Service Line?

A water service line is a pipe that connects a customer’s premise to the water main in the street. Typically, the service line is less than 2-inch in diameter and is made of various material. The most common material in use is copper, however other materials have been used including, but not limited to, galvanized steel, wrought iron, polybutelene pipe, polyethylene, lead pipe, and others.

Who owns the Water Service Line?


NJ_line_replacements_V2The Water Company owns a portion of the service line, typically from the main to the curb stop, found near the street curb or side walk. The property owner owns the rest of the service line (from curb stop) all the way into the house or building being served. See diagram.

The Company replaces several thousand of its service lines annually as part of its asset renewal program. Property owners may choose to replace their portion for various reasons. The customer (through the property owner) is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the portion owned by the property owner.

During planned projects, the Company provides the customer with specific information on the project and general guidance on flushing the new service line. The customer receives information listing flushing procedures depending on the service line material (Lead or no-Lead). If a lead service is identified, the company advises the customer of recommended steps to mitigate their potential exposure to lead in drinking water.


Lead Service Lines

In certain parts of the Company’s service area there are lead service lines still in use. Removal of lead service lines is an industry recommended practice even in instances where the water system is in full compliance of the Lead and Copper Rule. All of New Jersey American Water Company operating systems are in full compliance of the Lead and Copper Rule. Hence, lead service lines replacement is not required; but it is a highly recommended practice when any portion of the service line is determined to be lead material.

The Company has applied for the State Revolving Funds (SRF) administered by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) to replace customer side lead service lines in eligible municipalities. The Company current application to NJEIT for a low interest loan includes several municipalities in each of the following counties: Essex, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, and Union County.

The New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (successor to NJEIT) is an independent State Financing Authority responsible for providing and administering low interest rate loans to qualified municipalities, counties, regional authorities, and water purveyors in New Jersey for the purpose of financing water quality infrastructure projects that enhance ground and surface water resources, ensure the safety of drinking water supplies, protect the public health and make possible responsible and sustainable economic development.

Planned Lead Service Lines replacement

The Company has planned lead service lines replacements in several towns covered by the LSL Replacement Map.