DWSD Searches for Lead Pipes

DWSD is working to find a more comprehensive way to search for lead service lines in residents’ homes.

manhole cover that reads "Detroit Water and Sewer Department"

Photo credit: Quinn Klinefelter/WDET.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is looking for lead service lines throughout the city.

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Since Flint’s Water Crisis Detroit officials have been looking into how many lead pipes could be in residents’ homes.

Elin Betanzo is a water expert at the Northeast-Midwest Institute. Detroit hired her in June to help search for lead pipes.

Betanzo says the reality is there are lead service lines in the city but residents have little to fear about widespread lead poisoning.

“The good news is we’ve got corrosion control in Detroit,” Betanzo says. “It’s never been interrupted. It’s been consistently used since the requirements came into place with the lead and copper rule.”

But Betanzo says anytime there are lead pipes there is still a possibility of water contamination.

She says the city is looking into proactive ways to prevent lead from leaching into Detroit’s drinking water. 


  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.