In January 2023, the Decatur City Council adopted a policy allowing the City to share the cost of replacing privately-owned water service lines.
The City of Decatur has no all-lead water service lines, but there are about 6,800 private laterals made of galvanized steel pipes, and many of these are connected at the main by a lead “gooseneck” connection.
Because these service lines pose a risk of lead contamination and due to the high cost of replacement, the City Council proactively enacted the cost-sharing policy to help affected Decatur residents.
Am I Eligible?
The City has identified 6,800 customers that this program affects. These customers are mostly in the older sections of the City where water lines were generally installed prior to 1940. If your home was built after 1940, you are likely unaffected. Affected homes/properties should receive information in the mail from us.
- To check on the eligibility of your service line, visit *this website*. Or you can contact Water Services at 217-875-5705.
Water Services will verify if your service line meets the criteria for replacement and then you will be put on the replacement list. Please understand the City cannot address all 6,800 affected service lines at the same time, so we appreciate your patience!
What is the cost share?
The cost to replace a water service line is typically $2,000 – $5,000. The cost-sharing policy allows for up to 50 percent to be covered by the City.
- Residential – 50 percent of the cost, up to $3,000 maximum assistance
- Commercial – 50 percent of the cost, up to $5,000 maximum assistance
What if I can’t afford that?
There are some options if you cannot afford your share of the cost of replacement. Depending on the funding used, some portions of the city may receive a no-cost service replacement if you are in an eligible, low- to moderate-income area. More details on options to come soon. The City will provide a water filter if you cannot get a full replacement.
Is my water safe?
YES. The City of Decatur’s Water Department tests for lead and copper in the drinking water supply and has passed these tests for the last several decades. Trace amounts of lead and copper are common in public drinking water. The last test indicated lead in 7 of the 33 tested homes at 7.5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum amount allowed is 15 ppb. Another test will occur in the fall 2023.
The City also maintains a slight amount of calcium carbonate in its drinking water that bonds to the interior of water mains and interior building plumbing. This safe chemical coating significantly reduces the potential for lead and copper to leach into drinking water. Daily tests are performed at the South Water Treatment Plant to ensure that the water has the correct chemical composition to reduce leaching.
If you are an affected property downstream from a lead gooseneck, there is a chance for minimal lead contamination. This is why the Council enacted a proactive replacement program to help residents replace service lines.