TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Tyler Water Utilities (TWU) launched a survey on Wednesday as part of a partnership with KSA Engineers to inventory types of materials of all customers’ water service lines in order to implement a future water service line replacement program.

According to Utilities Director Kate Dietz, the EPA recommends replacement of all lines made of lead and galvanized steel pipe installed downstream of lead, and completion of the survey will help inform future plans.

“Once we have a good inventory of all the water service line material both on the customers side as well as our side we are able to come up with an appropriate replacement program” said Dietz.

The survey, which can be found here, will help TWU document the types of service line materials used throughout the city. Officials said customers who can’t easily access their service lines or identify the material should mark “unknown” and TWU will assess the service line later in the process.

To see how you can find out what material of pipes you have and how they look during a scratch test, watch the video below:

“Prior to this initiative, TWU replaced all known city-owned lead service lines,” the city said in a release. “The city expects to identify more city-owned lead service lines through this process and will develop a replacement plan.”

Officials with the city said the survey can be completed by TWU customers the following ways:

  • Online
  • Mail the completed survey with their monthly water bill
  • Scan the QR code provided on their water bill and complete the survey online
  • Drop off a completed survey in the TWU drop box in the Brookshire’s parking lot at 110 Rice Rd. or the water business office

To identify a home’s service line type, homeowners are asked to dig about 18″ away from your water box down to the level of your water line where a scratch test can be done on the material with a coin to identify it. The following service materials will need to be identified in the survey:

  • PVC – an obvious plastic material, that will not need a scratch test
  • Copper – will have a shiny bronze color when scratched
  • Galvanized – will be a rusty color and will look dark silver when scratched
  • Lead – will be dull in color and when scratched, will be a shiny silver

The service lines are co-owned, according to the city, and the lines of the meter box to the house or business are the responsibility of the property owner while the city is responsible for all lines from the meter box to the water mains under the streets.

TWU said in a release that they will only need to dig in the right of way or utility easement parts of yards if the survey was not completed or it was marked “unknown” to determine if a replacement is required under the EPA’s revised lead and copper rule.

The city said in a release that those with lead lines are at minimal risk of lead exposure through drinking water due to how the water is treated to minimize corrosion.

“Replacement of customer service lines is the responsibility of the property owner,” the city said. “However, the city will provide notice prior to replacing the city-owned portion of the service line and offer to replace the customer’s portion of the service line at the homeowner’s cost, if lead or galvanized requiring replacement.”

The survey, which is part of a national initiative by the EPA, will conclude on Oct. 16, 2024 and the city said once an inventory is complete, they hope to begin replacement projects in 2025.