Lead (Galvanized) Service Lines

In July, 2021, the New Jersey Legislature passed legislation requiring all public water systems in the state to inventory all lead service lines and then replace them with non-lead lines within 10 years. The service line consists of the utility-owned portion of the line from main to the curb stop, and the customer-owned portion of the line from the curb stop in to the meter.  Although the Hawthorne Water system has no actual lead lines, the law classified galvanized lines (essentially steel pipe coated in zinc) as lead, and 45% of Hawthorne Water's service lines were installed using galvanized pipes. Only a handful of these have since been replaced with non-lead (copper) pipes..


In compliance with the federal government's "Lead and Copper" rule, Hawthorne has tested for lead in water in selected customers' premises for the past 30 years, without the results showing that we have a lead problem.   


The Borough Engineer has noted that Hawthorne’s water system has been utilizing air stripping for quite a number of years. This is significant because air stripping removes some of the carbon dioxide from the water. This, in turn, makes the water “encrustive” as opposed to “corrosive.“  Encrustive water provides a mineral coating on the inside of the pipe which reduces leaching of any material from the pipe material.  


Despite these facts - no actual lead pipes, test results showing no lead problem, and the encrustive water chemistry - state law will require Hawthorne to spend an estimated $15-$20 million over the next ten years to replace the service line pipes for over 2,500 customers, a cost that will be passed on to customers via higher water rates. At this time, there is not yet a schedule for when service lines will be replaced for individual customers.


As required, we are posting a copy of Hawthorne Water's service line inventory, showing which are copper, which are galvanized, and the few which are of unknown composition.  This is a preliminary inventory, which will be updated periodically as more information becomes available or as galvanized service lines are replaced with copper.  


All customers with galvanized service lines have been mailed a notification via certified mail (English, Spanish, Arabic) on or about February 22, 2022, which notification includes information about the health impact of lead in water.  It should be noted that, although the Borough will be replacing galvanized service lines, any galvanized or lead lines within a customer's premises will not be touched; those remain the responsibility of the property owner. For more information, visit the NJ- DEP website.

A contract was awarded on May 4, 2022, for the first phase of galvanized service line replacement, covering 204 properties, with construction to begin in May and continue through the summer.


New Jersey Water Bank (NJWB) Project posting is available HERE