New Meter, New Rules: DEP’s Requirement to Replace Lead Water Mains Upon Meter Installation


In a significant move towards modernizing urban infrastructure, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced a new regulation that mandates the replacement of lead and galvanized water mains in conjunction with the installation of new water meters. This policy, while presenting logistical challenges, marks a crucial step in updating aging water systems and ensuring the long-term reliability of water delivery services.

Background: The Issue with Lead Pipes

Historically, lead pipes were commonly used in water systems due to their durability and malleability. However, over time, it has become evident that lead can leach into drinking water, posing serious health risks. The dangers of lead exposure, especially to children and pregnant women, cannot be overstated, leading to developmental delays and neurological damage.

DEP’s New Policy

Under the new DEP regulation, any time a new water meter is installed or an existing one is replaced, a check for lead water mains is mandatory. If lead piping is discovered, the property owner is required to replace it with a safer, modern alternative such as copper or ductile iron. This policy is not just a preventive measure but also a proactive approach to eliminate the risks associated with lead pipes.

The Risk of Installing on Lead

It is common that a property owner may seek a non-licensed plumber to perform an illegal repair. The goal for the property owner is to reduce cost and avoid installing a new water main. In addition to the health risk, there is chance of receiving a violation for an illegal repair.

Environmental and Health Benefits

Replacing lead pipes during meter installation is not only a strategic move to address infrastructure issues but also a significant step towards safeguarding public health. Removing lead pipes from the water system reduces the risk of lead poisoning, ensuring cleaner and safer drinking water for residents.


The DEP’s new rule to switch out old lead pipes for safer ones when they put in new water meters is a big deal for city living. Sure, it might be tough to do, but in the long run, it means we’ll all have cleaner water to drink and a better water system. As our cities get bigger and change, taking steps like this is really important to make sure everyone stays healthy and we take good care of our place

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