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Do Wauwatosa houses have lead laterals connected to city water?

Issue: Prompted by new stories of lead laterals in Milwaukee and Shorewood, a city resident whose house was built in 1937 asked that question.

Status: Wauwatosa homes built before 1953 were built with lead laterals to connect to the city’s water supply, said Water Superintendent James Wojcehowicz. He said that includes 10,000 homes.

Over the past 15 years, Wojcehowicz said the city has been replacing the lines it owns with copper materials.

Homeowners are responsible for their laterals. Wojcehowicz estimated a replacement cost could range from $3,000 to just over $7,000 but the more likely cost estimate is between $5,000 and $7,000.

Wauwatosa’s Water Utility offers a detailed Q&A document about lead and water through www.wauwatosa.net. The document explains what lead is and how the population is exposed, homeowner responsibilities of their laterals, what the city manages, and how residents can reduce their exposure to lead from the water entering their homes.

Flushing tap water is recommended, especially when it has gone unused for a few hours. Options for homeowners listed in the document include using various forms of filters, including those in pitchers/carafes or mounted at a faucet, plumbed into a sink and installed in a refrigerator.

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