This graphic illustrates which parts of service lines are the city’s responsibility and which are property owner’s responsibility.


How can I get my lead service lines replaced in the city of Ripon?


The city of Ripon has received $100,000 from the DNR’s Safe Drinking Water Program to fund a Private Lead Service Line Replacement Program.

City Administrator Adam Sonntag said the goal of the program is to eliminate health hazards associated with private lead service lines and provide financial assistance to private property owners to replace lead service lines.

“The city has identified approximately 80 private lead service lines in the water system,” he said in a press release. “Property owners that have confirmed a lead service line at their property are eligible for up to $5,000 in financial assistance to have the line replaced.”

The city’s Lead Service Line Replacement webpage says water service lines and home plumbing are potential sources of lead in drinking water, which is harmful to human health, particularly for small children.

The city may replace or perform maintenance on the water main and the city-owned portion of the water service line to your home.

While the city replaces and performs maintenance on water mains and city-owned portions of service lines, service lines from a property to the curb-stop are owned and maintained by private property owners.

The Ripon Common Council last week Monday approved an agreement with the DNR for the Safe Drinking Water Loan funds, which enabled the creation of the Private Lead Service Line Replacement Program.

Schools and certified day care centers also are eligible for the money.

During the meeting, Sonntag said the $100,000 from the DNR must be used this year, meaning property owners would have to get the work done before the end of the year and submit the proper paperwork to be reimbursed.

The city has found three contractors to do the work. Sonntag described this program as a trial run for the city because it will apply for more money through the Safe Drinking Water Loan program next year to get additional lead service lines replaced.

What this means for you:

To determine if a water service line is lead, individuals may contact a certified plumber (at their expense), the Ripon Water Utility at 920-748-4900 (free of charge) or perform a self- inspection, Sonntag said.

“To perform the self-inspection, simply take a metal tool, like a coin, and scratch the surface of the pipe protruding from the floor or wall prior to the water meter,” he said. “If the pipe is easy to scratch and the scratched area is a shiny grey color, the pipe is made of lead.”

The city administrator added that applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the program will be open while funds are available as all construction activities need to be completed by Friday, Dec. 31.

For more information, visit or call 920-748-4912 with questions.

How to submit:

If you have a question, we want to give you an answer. Send a question, name and contact information to:

Mail: 303 Watson St., Ripon WI 54971, P.O. Box 262, Ripon WI 54971


Written By

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and graduated from UW-Oshkosh in December with a bachelor's degree in journalism.


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