Drinking Water Activity BookWelcome to the Milwaukee Water Works
Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- The Global Freshwater City

Lead Awareness and Drinking Water Safety  Brochure text

With recent news of reported cases of lead in drinking water in other cities, we are reaching out to customers whose homes were built with service lines made of lead, those built before 1951. The service line connects the water main in the street to the meter in the home or building.

Lead pipes are dull gray and are soft enough to be scratched with a house key. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe. Water utilities across the country are in the same position as Milwaukee. The water is safe but the lead pipes can dissolve lead into drinking water.

Lead can cause health problems if it builds up in the body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, children under the age of 6 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The most common source of lead is from paint in buildings built before 1978.

Lead is not found in Milwaukee’s source water, Lake Michigan, and it is not found in our treated drinking water. Our water meets all federal guidelines for safety and we regularly test to ensure this. 

Water can dissolve lead from the service lines and internal plumbing made of lead, especially when water stands unused for several hours. To control this, since 1996 we have treated our water with a compound that forms a protective coating inside pipes to control lead dissolving into the water.

Please read advice and resources here that we prepared in collaboration with the Milwaukee Health Department. Informaciόn sobre el plomo y la seguridad del agua potable.

List of Water Filters to Remove Lead / Filtros de agua para remover Plomo

The Milwaukee Water Works and the Milwaukee Health Department do not offer testing of water. Please consult this list: List of Commercial Laboratories that analyze water for lead / Laboratorios acreditados en el área de Milwaukee para el análisis de plomo (Pb) en el agua potable

Milwaukee water is a great value. Two gallons cost one cent.

Compared across the U.S., Milwaukee has low rates for water and sewer. (With permission of Circle of Blue) The monthly water and sewer charge for a Milwaukee household of four is $51.27 per month. (Calculated using the Milwaukee per-person average water use of 5 Ccf per quarter, or 41 gallons per day per person)

The Milwaukee Water Works is a national leader in providing high-quality drinking water and we are recognized for our comprehensive water quality monitoring program. We were organized on April 18, 1871 and began operations September 14, 1874. We are proud to serve as the longest continuously operating water utility in Wisconsin. The original "works" consisted of an inlet pipe in Lake Michigan, a steam engine pumping station with standpipe (North Point Tower), a reservoir, and 58 miles of water main. Read a brief history.

Today, the Milwaukee Water Works consists of two intakes, two water purification, multiple storage tanks, and 2,000 miles of water mains. We provide water to 860,000 people in 16 communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties: Milwaukee, Brown Deer, Butler, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Shorewood, St. Francis, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and West Milwaukee. We also provide water to the Milwaukee County Grounds facilities and portions of Franklin, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, and Thiensville.

      Learn about Drinking Water: Resources for Teachers

We have made it a priority to reinvest in our water infrastructure, to date since 1993, investing over $459 million to ensure clean and safe drinking water. Read recent coverage of our infrastructure maintenance and replacement program in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Milwaukee has avoided the nationwide crisis of how to pay for long-deferred upgrades of drinking water treatment systems."


  Prevent pipes and meters from freezing.

When temperatures are forecast in the teens, water pipes and water meters exposed to cold air may freeze and break, leaving you without water and an expensive repair bill. Here's how to prevent freeze-up in your home or business. Click the frozen pipe valve for English. (Evite tuberías y medidores de agua congelados) Wikihow shows you how-to

Public Health Notice

Strontium Levels in the Pryor Avenue Iron Well water exceed the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level (HAL). You may wish to consider avoiding consumption of water from this source. Please read this notice for more information or call the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, (608) 266-1120, or the City of Milwaukee Health Department, (414) 286-3521.

Strontium is a naturally occurring element found in the earth, including the bedrock of natural underground aquifers. The strontium in this well is thought to be from natural sources. It is important to note that consuming strontium at levels exceeding the HAL will not necessarily lead to health effects. The USEPA may regulate strontium in the future. The well, located in the 1700 block of East Pryor Avenue, just west of South Superior Avenue, is owned by the City of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Water Works maintains the site of the well but does not treat the water. The well is not connected to our purification and distribution system. This notice does not apply to Milwaukee’s treated drinking water. 

Did the City endorse this? Service Line Warranty advertising

Various private companies advertise and sell water-related products. Recently, firms have sent mail to or called our customers offering optional water and/or sewer service line insurance. The City of Milwaukee is not endorsing any vendor, nor are you under any obligation to purchase these products. Learn more.

Be Aware of scam artists posing as utility employees

Please be aware of scam artists who try to gain access to your home to rob you by posing as a utility employees. Protect yourself and your family:
•    Do not open your door to someone you do not recognize. Do not allow anyone to enter your home if you are not sure of any person’s identity.
•    Ask to see photo identification (I.D.) through a window. Milwaukee Water Works and other utility employees and contractors carry photo identification. Legitimate employees will be happy to show you their I.D. if you ask, or call the utility to verify identification.
•    Call the Milwaukee Water Works Customer Service Center, (414) 286-2830, if you are unsure about a person’s identification or to verify work to be done at your home. Call the police if you believe the person is an imposter.
•    Do not allow anyone to enter your home claiming to collect a past-due bill, inspect plumbing fixtures, or to sell utility products such as a meter or other equipment. Milwaukee Water Works employees do not engage in door-to-door sales, do not collect a past-due bill in person, and do not deliver rebates or refunds.
•    The Milwaukee Water Works does not solicit water testing from customers.
•    Advise your elderly loved ones, friends, and children about what to do if strangers approach their home and ask to come in.
Milwaukee Water Works employees on duty drive marked City of Milwaukee vehicles.

If a property owner calls the Milwaukee Water Works Customer Service Center and asks for an investigation into high water use or other water service-related issue, the Milwaukee Water Works may send an employee to a residence or business. The utility also may send an employee to investigate high water use or a possible meter issue, or to replace a meter, without a customer-initiated service request. Again, these employees will readily show identification. You may contact the utility to confirm we are cold-calling in your service area.

Pure and Fresh Milwaukee Water

Here's our most recent Consumer Confidence Report   El Reporte de Confianz del Consumidor. Milwaukee’s drinking water is of the highest quality by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. We have a high level of confidence in the water treated and piped to your home, school, and business, and we'd like you to know the water is healthful and safe to drink. We diligently monitor the quality of both Lake Michigan source and treated drinking water. Learn more in the Water Quality section. The Alliance for the Great Lakes agrees: “The City (of Milwaukee) takes its water supply seriously. ... The effort put forth by MWW is commendable as it is leading the way among public water utilities. More frequent monitoring for priority chemicals could help to establish temporal trends — if any exist — in the occurrence of emerging contaminants.” Read an overview of Milwaukee's nationally recognized water quality monitoring program.

Meter Replacement Program

The Milwaukee Water Works is replacing residential water meters in Milwaukee, Greenfield, Hales Corners, St. Francis, and West Milwaukee during the next several years. Learn more.

Environmental Stewardship

Milwaukee has an abundant water resource in Lake Michigan, which contributes to a high quality of life and a reliable supply of fresh drinking water. We use Lake Michigan water and return it to the lake. As a steward of the resource, the Milwaukee Water Works uses sustainable practices to reduce its energy, carbon and water footprints while purifying and pumping the water. We focus on supply-side conservation, water accountability, energy conservation, operational efficiency and consumer advocacy to prevent water waste. The Milwaukee Water Works has received several environmental stewardship awards for these activities.

Stop Wasting Water and Control Your Water Costs. Learn how to Use Water Wisely.

Help Protect Source Water -- Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine, Household Hazardous Waste, and Electronics A clean water source is one of the barriers to protect public health. The Milwaukee Water Works analyzes Lake Michigan water and treated drinking water for regulated and non-regulated contaminants, including pharmaceuticals. These compounds are present in the lake water but none have been found in treated drinking water. Properly dispose of unused medicines and waste chemicals to prevent Lake Michigan pollution. Visit the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) website for information about unused Medicine Collection.

Visit the MMSD website for information about Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

Wisconsin law bans many types of consumer electronics from landfills. City of Milwaukee residents can recycle electronics at no charge at the city’s Self-Help Centers. Electronics may contain hazardous materials including lead, cadmium, and mercury. Keeping electronics out of landfills reduces negative impacts to ground, air, and water resources and human health. Visit the Milwaukee Public Works website for more information.

Waste Less, Recycle More -- By charging for a second garbage cart, the City of Milwaukee encourages citizens to recycle more and generate less garbage. If you have more than one cart, the charge will appear on your Municipal Services Bill. For more information, or to request removal of extra garbage carts, call (414) 286-CITY (2489).  There is no extra charge for more than one recycling cart.

Me2 - Milwaukee Energy Efficiency -- Improve your home comfort and save money on energy bills.

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