As featured on the front page of our Winter 2023 North Canton Sun newsletter, we are asking all North Canton City water customers to complete their private water service line material self-test and self-reporting by May 1, 2024 to meet new nationwide EPA regulations for water quality and safety.
If you are a property owner or tenant receiving North Canton City water service, please complete your private waterline material self-test and self-reporting via our convenient online form at https://northcantonoh.portal.opengov.com/categories/1086/record-types/6599. Read the full newsletter article below:
Complete Your Private Water Service Line Material Self-Test
In accordance with new U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, the City of North Canton is required to identify and inventory the material types of all water distribution service lines within the North Canton Public Water System (PWS) by October 2024.
The City will need to identify and record the type of materials that all water distribution service line pipes are made of throughout our system to complete a water distribution service line inventory that meets federal and state environmental requirements. The inventory must include all service lines connected to the North Canton PWS, both City-owned and private. In North Canton, waterline ownership is split between the City and private property owners according to the function, type, and location of the waterline. The City owns and maintains water mainlines at the street; the sections of waterline from the mainline to the curb box in front of private property; and the property’s water meter. Private property owners own and maintain the sections of waterline from their curb box to the water meter on their property. See the diagram below illustrating the split ownership of waterlines between the City and private property owners.
As the City does not own or maintain private waterlines, gathering the required information for the North Canton PWS service line inventory presents a significant challenge. If the North Canton PWS service line inventory does not contain sufficient information for all waterlines connected to the system, both public and private, the federal and state EPAs could take serious action against the North Canton PWS – negatively impacting the City and all who rely on our water service. Thus, the City needs assistance from all private property owners and tenants who receive North Canton City water service to determine the material type of their private waterline section. Failure of private property owners and/or tenants to coordinate with the City to fulfill the service line inventory requirement for their property may require the City to dig on their property to expose the private waterline for material identification.
To enable residents and business owners to complete their private water service line inventory requirement as quickly and easily as possible, the City has developed a convenient online form with step-by-step instructions for testing and identifying the material of your private waterline where the pipe connects to your water meter, and then reporting your findings to the City.
If you receive North Canton City water service, please follow the steps below to complete your private waterline material self-test and self-reporting:
STEP 1: Go to the City’s online "Water Service Line Inventory" form by scanning the QR Code below or by visiting our online portal at https://northcantonoh.portal.opengov.com/categories/1086/record-types/6599. The form is available via the City’s OpenGov platform. If you do not already have an OpenGov account, you will be prompted to create one.
STEP 2: Gather the following items for the water service line material test:
- A key or coin.
- A strong magnet.
- A mobile phone with a camera feature or a digital camera.
STEP 3: Locate your water meter and ensure the water service pipe attached to it is visible and accessible. Water meters are typically located inside your residence or building in a basement or utility area. In order to test the material of the private waterline pipe connected to your water meter, the pipe must be exposed and easily accessible by hand.
STEP 4: Complete the "Property Information" section of the Water Service Line Inventory form to the best of your ability. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*); all others are optional and may be left blank if you do not have the information requested.
STEP 5: Following the directions listed in the "How to Test Your Water Service Line" guide provided via link, test your service line with each of the three methods provided and report your results in the "Service Line Information" section of the Water Service Line Inventory form. The three different testing methods that must be used are as follows:
- Visual Inspection: Look at the water service pipe connected into your water meter. Lines will most commonly be copper, galvanized steel, lead, or (in rare cases) plastic. The visual characteristics of each are as follows:
- Copper - metallic bronze or orange in color.
- Lead or Steel - dull silver or gray in color.
- Plastic (PVC) - black or white in color, with printed blue or red letters on the side of the pipe.
- Magnet Test: Take a strong household magnet and put it next to the water service pipe in front of the water meter. If the magnet sticks to the pipe, then the pipe is made of galvanized steel. If not, it is most likely made from either copper, plastic, or lead.
- Scratch Test: Take a coin or key and gently scratch the surface of the water service pipe in front of the water meter. If the scratched area appears shiny and silvery in color, and the Magnet Test showed that the pipe was not magnetic, then the pipe is likely made of lead. If the scratched area is shiny and bronze/orange in color, then the pipe is likely made of copper.
STEP 6: Based on your results from the three test methods described above, select the type of material that you believe your water service line is made of from the options provided. You may select copper, galvanized steel, plastic (PVC), lead, or unknown (if your testing is inconclusive).
STEP 7: Take a clear picture of your water service line where it connects to your water meter. Click the "Choose File" button under the "Service Line Photo" section of the Water Service Line Inventory form to attach your picture to the form. A clear photo of the water service line is required to confirm the results of your self-test. Be sure to use appropriate lighting to provide a clear image of your service line.
STEP 8: Check the two boxes in the "Acknowledgements" section of the Water Service Line Inventory form to certify that the information provided is correct to the best of your knowledge and provide a digital signature for the form. You will also be asked to list your relationship to the property (i.e., property owner, agent, or tenant) in the drop-down box provided.
STEP 9: Click the blue "Create Record" button in the bottom right corner of the screen to submit your completed form.
If the City does not receive an online Water Service Line Inventory form for a private property, a City representative will visit the property to make contact with the property owner or tenant and attempt to collect the necessary information in-person. In the event that the City does not receive private service line inventory information and cannot make contact with the property owner or tenant, we may be forced to dig on the property to expose the private waterline for material testing. Private property owners and/or tenants can do their part to assist the City with the North Canton PWS service line inventory by submitting their Water Service Line Inventory forms online by May 1, 2024. With the support of our community, it is our hope to complete the North Canton PWS service line inventory initiative as efficiently and effectively as possible–and to continue to uphold our standard of excellence in water quality and distribution well into the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions about the City’s water service line inventory initiative:
Q: Is there hazardous lead in the North Canton PWS supply?
A: No significant lead levels have been detected in the North Canton PWS supply to result in this initiative. This is a nationwide requirement not limited to the North Canton PWS. With a community water system servicing nearly 9,500 customers and providing drinking water to tens of thousands of people every day, the City of North Canton remains committed to full cooperation and compliance with all federal, state, and local environmental regulations. North Canton Water Treatment Plant staff regularly monitor and test for contaminants and hazardous materials in the water supply as part of standard operating procedures. Per the City of North Canton Water Treatment Plant’s 2022 Consumer Confidence Report, the most recent testing conducted in accordance with standard Ohio EPA reporting requirements found that all North Canton PWS samples yielded negligent lead levels that pose “no known or expected risk to health”–and that 90 percent of the tests yielded 0.0 parts per billion (PPB) of lead. The full North Canton PWS 2022 Consumer Confidence Report may be viewed on the City’s website, northcantonohio.gov, in the Drinking Water Quality Consumer Confidence Reports section of our Drinking Water Plant page.
Q: Why is the City required to complete a water service line inventory for the North Canton PWS?
A: Effective January 2021, the U.S. EPA Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) were designed to protect the public against the risks of exposure to lead, a toxic and naturally occurring metal–in part by identifying and removing any lead sources that could still be present in the nation’s drinking water supply. In pursuit of this goal, the LCRR has enacted a nationwide requirement for all community and non-transient, non-community water systems to create and maintain a water distribution service line inventory - a requirement reinforced by Ohio law enacted in June 2016. The inventories are required to cover all service lines connected to the water system, including both public system- and private customer-owned portions of waterlines where ownership is split. Water systems are required to submit their initial service line inventories to their state environmental protection agency - in our case, the Ohio EPA - by October 2024.
Q: What is the purpose of the federal and state water service line inventory?
A: A main purpose of the service line inventories is to identify and record the type of materials that water distribution service line pipes are made of. This will allow water systems to either rule out or ultimately eliminate the presence of potential lead sources wherever possible. Pipes made of copper or plastic-based materials (e.g., PVC) do not contain lead and cannot absorb lead from another source. Galvanized steel pipes do not regularly contain lead, but if they are exposed to enough lead from another source, they may absorb it and release it back into the water system over time. Lead pipes can leach lead into a water supply, putting those who drink or are otherwise exposed to it at risk of lead poisoning and other adverse health effects. In 1986, the U.S. Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to prohibit the use of pipes that are not “lead free” in public water systems and facility plumbing that provides water for human consumption. Though this measure and later revisions have largely prevented the installation of new lead pipes in the nation’s water systems, residences, and commercial buildings since then, any pre-existing lead pipes or galvanized steel pipes exposed to lead that are still a part of the nation’s water systems pose a concern to the drinking water supply and all who rely on it.