View election results from the 2020 spring primary

“Another 12K to 15K” MORE homes in Milwaukee may have lead laterals; group calls on city to do more

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MILWAUKEE -- Thousands more homes in Milwaukee may be impacted by lead in the water -- and a group is calling on city leaders to do more to inform homeowners they could be at risk.

During a monthly meeting of the City of Milwaukee's Water Quality Task Force on Friday, February 10th, it was revealed thousands more homes may have lead pipes than first thought. A group is now demanding that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett inform citizens that they may be at risk, and show them how to identify lead pipes -- something that takes just seconds.


"We're looking at possibly another 12,000 to 15,000 thousand homes in addition to the 70,000 the city initially stated," Robert Miranda said.

Robert Miranda

Robert Miranda

At a press conference Tuesday, February 14th, Miranda with the advocacy group "Freshwater For Life Action Coalition" said homes built in 1962 or earlier may have lead laterals. City leaders initially said homes built after 1951 should be safe.

"Right now we don't have a real clear number as to how many homes we actually have in the city that may have lead laterals," Miranda said.

Lead laterals can result in lead leaching into water, and is especially dangerous for children and those who are pregnant.


The Freshwater For Life Action Coalition is calling on Barrett to inform residents they may be at risk and show them how to check their pipes.

So how do you determine if a home has a lead lateral? Head to the basement.

You'll need three tools -- a penny, a magnet from your fridge, and a flathead screwdriver.

Testing for lead pipes

Testing for lead pipes

You'll want to find your water meter and the lowest pipe connected to it. Then, take your screwdriver and scrape the pipe.

If the pipe is the same color as the penny, that means it's copper.

Testing for lead pipes

Testing for lead pipes

If the pipe is the same color as the bolt pictured above, stick a magnet to it. If the magnet sticks, that is a good sign. That means you have a steel pipe. If the magnet does not stick, that could mean you have a lead pipe.

Homes with lead in Milwaukee

Homes with lead in Milwaukee

"This is a threat, a danger," Miranda said.

Replacing lead laterals

City leaders did not respond to questions from FOX6 News Tuesday -- but they have promised millions in repairs for those who may be impacted.

CLICK HERE to learn more about lead and drinking water in Milwaukee.


  • Opinion8d

    Many homes have lead pipes – just like they did in Flint and all over the US. The problem in Flint was that the new water source (Flint river) was very corrosive and caused lead to leach off the pipes into the water stream. Those same pipes were had been just fine (for years and years) when they were getting water from Detroit. Think of it like asbestos -if you don’t disturb it, there is nothing to worry about. This ‘coalition’ is just looking for money!!!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.