Cal Water Lead and Copper Sampling Program

Cal Water Lead and Copper Sampling Program infographic (click for a PDF)At Cal Water, protecting our customers’ health and safety is our highest priority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water utilities nationwide to test for lead and copper in drinking water by collecting tap water samples free of charge in homes in cooperation with homeowners and residents. We are currently seeking customers to participate in our next round of testing, which is conducted at no cost to you.

According to EPA requirements, homes constructed during the years of 1983 to 1986 may be eligible to participate in the sampling program. If you live in a home constructed during this time period, you may receive a phone call, email, or text message requesting that you complete a survey to determine if you are eligible to participate in the sampling program.

The survey questions will ask about the water supply pipes in your home plumbing system. To prepare for the survey, we encourage customers to get to know their plumbing system. Please review the infographic at right (or download a PDF), which presents more information about features of a home plumbing system and how to identify copper water supply pipes.

If you would like to participate, please call (925) 255-0607 or (805) 225-6887.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I being contacted?

We are contacting customers at homes constructed between 1983 and 1986 to collect more information on your home plumbing system and to confirm eligibility to participate in the sampling program. The EPA requires us to test water inside a representative number of homes constructed within this date range that are most likely to contain lead, lead solder, and/or copper plumbing materials.

I participated in prior lead and copper sampling with Cal Water. Why are you contacting me again?

In accordance with the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule, we test water from customers’ taps every three years. Because your home met sampling requirements before, we wanted to reach out to you and see if you would be open to participating again. Your participation in the sampling program is voluntary, of course, and we would certainly appreciate your continued assistance with this important program.

When will I receive a sample bottle?

If your home is selected for participation in the sampling program, you will receive a sample bottle between June and September depending on where you live. The package will include instructions on how to fill the bottle and return the sample to Cal Water. Cal Water employees will not need to enter your home to collect the sample.

How do I collect the water sample?

If you are selected to participate in the sampling program, you will receive detailed instructions with the sample bottle explaining how to collect the sample. It is important that you follow the instructions carefully to ensure that the sample results are accurate. Prior to collecting the sample, there should be no water use in the home for a period of at least 6 hours, and the sample bottle should collect the first draw of water from the tap.

When you receive the sample bottle and instructions, please follow the instructions carefully to collect the water sample, and contact Cal Water with any questions about the process.

Will I be notified of the sample results at my house?

If you are selected to participate and you collect a tap water sample, you will receive a copy of the results after the samples have been analyzed.

You will receive a letter indicating the concentrations of lead and copper in the sample and indicating if the concentrations are above or below the regulatory action level. The letter will include additional facts on lead and copper in drinking water to help you interpret the results of the sample, as well as information on how to reduce exposure to lead and copper.

How do I test my water for lead?

Customers can request lead testing through Cal Water’s customer service department. Cal Water will deliver a sample kit and instructions to your home. After you collect the tap water sample, Cal Water will have the sample analyzed for lead at a laboratory, and you will be notified of the results.

How do I determine if I have a lead service line?

Service lines are buried pipes between the home and the water main in the street. Service lines typically enter a home in the basement or crawlspace. If you can access the basement or crawlspace, you may be able to see the service line pipe entering the home from below the ground. If you cannot access this area, it may not be possible to see the buried service line pipe to check the material.

Lead service lines are generally a dull grey color and are very soft. You can identify lead service lines by carefully scratching them with a key. If the pipe is made of lead, the area you’ve scratched will turn a bright silver color.

Cal Water is not aware of any lead service lines its districts. Your response to this question will help us to confirm our records.

Is there lead in my drinking water?

As the issue of lead in water continues to be top of mind for many Americans, California Water Service wants to assure you about the quality of your water. Cal Water’s highest priority is protecting its customers’ health and safety.

Lead is rarely found in source water but can enter tap water through corrosion of home plumbing materials. Homes built before 1988 are more likely to have lead pipes or lead solder. There are no known lead service lines in this district.

Cal Water routinely tests tap water for lead and copper in accordance with regulatory requirements. In your system, results from its lead monitoring program, conducted in accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule, were below federal standards for the presence of lead.

More information on lead in drinking water is available on the lead in water page.

How do I reduce exposure to lead and copper in drinking water?

If you are concerned about lead in your water, you can request tap water lead testing at your home through Cal Water’s customer service department.

More information about lead in drinking water and ways to reduce exposure can be found on the lead in water page or the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Who can I contact for more information about this survey, the tap sampling program, or my drinking water?

More information on lead in drinking water is available on the lead page.

You can contact Cal Water customer service at:

  • Bakersfield: (661) 837-7200
  • Dixon: (707) 678-5928
  • Los Altos: (650) 917-0152
  • Marysville: (530) 742-6911
  • Oroville: (530) 533-4034
  • Salinas: (831) 757-3644
  • San Mateo: (650) 558-7800
  • Selma: (559) 896-4546
  • South San Francisco: (650) 558-7800
  • Visalia: (559) 624-1600