Service Line Materials

Take the water service line inventory survey

The City of Dover is undertaking an inventory of all water service lines connected to its public drinking water system as part of complying with federal regulations. Specifically, the city is documenting what service lines are made of, such as plastic, copper, or brass. To assist with the inventory, the city requests water system users complete this brief online survey.

Visit to take the survey.

The survey requests the address of the water user, the approximate year the property building was constructed, and what material the service line is made of, if known. Understanding that many people may not know the exact material, the city created this page with pictures and descriptions of the possibilities to assist. City personnel are also willing to inspect the service line in person to help with the inventory efforts at no charge. 

Water Service Lines

Underground is a network of pipes that supply public drinking water to homes, schools, businesses, and properties. A water service line is a pipe that transports water from the water main in the street to private property. The City is responsible to maintain water infrastructure within the City right-of-way, which is typically from the middle of the street to the back of the sidewalk or 8' to 10' from the edge of the pavement. The City maintains the water service line from the water main in the street up to the curb box (water shut off), while the property owner is responsible to maintain the rest of the water service line after the curb box. 


Service Line Materials

Water service lines can be made of copper, plastic, brass, galvanized steel, or lead. The use of lead pipes and solder became banned in 1986, but older homes may still find lead present in the original plumbing. The City of Dover has proactively replaced any known lead pipes in the public City water system. However, it's still possible for lead service lines or lead-lined galvanized steel to exist within a property owner's private property. The City of Dover strongly encourages residents to identify and replace any lead pipes or plumbing materials.

Service Line Inventory

New federal requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been issued to require all water systems across the United States to create and maintain a public inventory of service line materials by October 16, 2024, in compliance with the Revised Lead and Copper Rule. This new regulation was developed to better protect communities from possible exposure to lead in drinking water by providing the public with information on what material each water line service is made of for every home on a public water supply in the country.

The inventory of service line materials will be published when completed.

Self-Checking & Reporting Your Service Line

You can take the following steps to inspect your own service line and report your findings to the City of Dover through its :

1. Locate Your Service Line

Find the water meter in your basement or crawl space and inspect the service line that enters your home before the meter.

2. Scratch Test – Determine Your Pipe Material

Use a house key or coin to carefully scratch the pipe’s surface. Compare and match the scratched area to the following pipe descriptions:

  • Copper - A copper pipe is the same color as a penny. Older copper pipes may show colors of green or blue. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.

  • Plastic - A plastic pipe is smooth and usually white, black, red, or blue. A magnet will not stick to a plastic pipe.

  • Galvanized - A galvanized steel pipe is black, dull gray, or silver with threaded ends and will have no noticeable scratch on the surface. A magnet will stick to a galvanized steel pipe

  • Lead - A lead pipe is dull gray or silver and soft, which will leave a noticeable shiny scratch on the surface. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.

3. Take a Photo

Take a picture showing the material of your service line after completing the scratch test. The scratched surface (on the section of the pipe between where the pipe enters your property and the water meter) should be visible in your photo.

4. Report Your Service Line Material

Please a brief online survey to report the service line material, which will allow the user to submit a photo. 

Water Service Line Material Inventory Survey

Thank you for taking the time to complete this important test to identify the service line on your property. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at 603-516-6450.

Water Quality & Compliance

The City of Dover has complied with the federal Lead and Copper Rule since its inception in 1991. It's our mission to provide Dover with drinking water that is of higher quality than all current state and federal water quality standards. For more information about water quality, please

Additional Resources