Get the Lead Out - Public Education Program


Important Information about the possibility of lead in your drinking water

Lead in the Environment

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested.  It can be found in the air, soil, water, and inside of our homes.  Lead has been used in many products found around the home in the form of paint, ceramics, plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, and cosmetics.  When lead is released into the air, it can travel long distances before settling to the ground. 

Lead and Drinking Water

Although the majority of lead exposure comes from sources around the home and in the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 10 - 20% of lead exposure comes from drinking water.

Shawano's water does not have lead present when it leaves our wells, but can be contaminated as it travels through lead service pipes that have started to corrode over time. You can easily determine if your water service line is lead by inspecting the water line entering your home from the street, usually located in the basement.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the amount of lead that enters your drinking water, including the corosivity of the water, the temperature of the water as it passes through the pipes, and the length of time the water stays in the pipes. Hot water and water that has been sitting in the pipes for long periods of time are more likely to pick up contaminants from the pipes and fixtures.

What the City of Shawano is Doing about Lead

The City of Shawano is viewing this as an opportunity to continue to further educate the community about the danger of lead and what they can do to determine if their home is affected to minimize any risk, as well as develop ways for the utility and municipality to eliminate lead from the drinking water system. 
The City of Shawano tests the drinking water each year for contaminants, including lead, to ensure that your drinking water continues to be safe to drink. During our 2020 sample testing, we completed thorough testing on twenty different properties. Upon completion of these tests, three isolated lead exceedances were detected at residential locations.  The City proceeded to then extensively test its source water at the wells, with no lead being detected from these secondary tests. Therefore, we can confidently determine that the lead exceedances are coming from either the public or private side of the lead water services into the residential location or possibly from lead piping or fixtures within the residences.
service line diagram
Each year, the Shawano Public Works Department works to replace some of the water service lines throughout the city that have lead service laterals. In 2020, the utility removed nearly 5% of known public lead service lines. Another 40% of known public lead service lines will be replaced in 2021. This effort will continue until all lead has been removed from the public drinking water system. When the Public Works Department is completing street reconstruction projects in your area, you may be notified by letter to encourage you to replace your privately owned portion of the water service line at the same time. Your costs will generally be lower if you choose to replace your water service line at the same time.

The City of Shawano is in the process of working to enact a new ordinance that will declare lead service lines as a public nuisance and mandate the replacement of all public and privately-owned lead service lines.

We are also working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in an effort to obtain grant funding for lead service line replacements in 2021 and 2022. The City of Shawano Public Works Department has applied for funding to begin actively replacing the public and private lead water services throughout the City during the 2021 construction season.  Once funding has been secured, the service line replacements can be made at no cost to the homeowner. Funding for this replacement project may only be available for a short time and any future lead water service line replacement costs could be responsibility of the homeowner.

  1. Water Testing Resources
  2. Additional Resources
  3. Is My Home Affected?
  4. Health Effects of Lead
To have the water tested at your home, please contact one of the following certified laboratories in the area:
  • Badger Laboratories - Neenah, WI (920) 729-1100
  • Clean Water Testing, LLC - Appleton, WI (920) 733-7590

​Current Map of Presumed Lead Service Locations

Click the link below to view the current map of presumed lead service line locations throughout the City of Shawano. Please note that the information shown below is not a guarantee that a parcel is or is not served by a lead service line.  This map was created using historical information and records, inspection observations, and reconstruction project data, as well as some historical assumptions.  Shawano Department of Public Works continues  to field-verify service materials in an effort to better this map's accuracy.  You can help by contacting Public Works to schedule your lateral line verification. 

Current Map of Presumed Lead Service Locations