The Department of Water Management purifies and delivers approximately 750 million gallons of drinking water to residents of Chicago and 120 suburbs daily. 42% of the whole state gets their water from us. We also remove waste water and storm runoff through the sewer system where it is then conveyed to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for processing. Our mission is to efficiently provide the highest quality drinking water to the Chicago region while protecting our most precious natural resource- Lake Michigan.

Do you wonder if you have a lead service line? Check out DWM’s new citywide Service Line Inventory

On the Service Line Inventory, you will see what our records show both the private and public side of service lines citywide to be made of. If you see that part of your line is labeled “Suspected Lead”, this determination is made based on the age and size of your building because there has not yet been field verification of its content.

You should know:

  • The Department of Water Management (DWM) has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information on this website is accurate according to the information available to us, but accuracy is not in any way guaranteed.
  • Having a lead service line does not automatically mean you have elevated levels of lead in the water. DWM adds corrosion control to the water to help prevent lead from leaching into the water. Each house has different test results based on factors such as water usage (which refreshes the corrosion control coating in your pipes), interior plumbing, and previous periods of vacancy. To check the levels of lead in your water, call 311 for free water testing.
  • In Chicago, lead paint is by far the biggest source of lead poisoning in children. It is a good idea to check your house for lead paint while also checking to see if you have a lead service line.
  • All young children should have their blood lead levels tested by their pediatrician - see more info here.

Avoid frozen pipes

As temperatures start dropping, pipes start popping! The Chicago Department of Water Management reminds us that there are some simple steps that we can take to prevent pipes from possibly freezing, leaking, or bursting. 

Remember to:

  • Maintain proper heat levels in your home and make sure that warm air is circulating wherever there are water pipes like underneath sinks. 
  • Run a trickle of cold water on each floor of the home at the point furthest from the location of the main water service into the building. Moving water prevents freezing.
  • Insulate pipes, particularly those located outside or on the perimeter of your home.
  • Remove all garden hoses of the winter and shut off their water source. Cover the spigots with Styrofoam caps. 

And should an interior pipe freeze, use a hair dryer or heating pad to warm it. Never use an open flame. 

Remember that the small effort it takes to prevent pipes from freezing can prevent the need for very costly repairs! 

Prevent basement flooding

As our climate changes, we are seeing more intense storms than we have in past years. Our sewer system can get overwhelmed by these huge downpours and more of us are finding water in our basements. In Chicago, the sewer system also handles rainwater removal. The Chicago Department of Water Management is working closely with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to increase the capacity of our drainage systems.

There are some steps homeowners can take to help prevent water from backing up into their basements:

  • Disconnect downspout connections from the sewer system.
  • Make sure to direct downspout flow to areas with permeable surfaces that can properly absorb the stormwater or use rain barrels to collect the water directly from the downspouts.
  • Avoid running a dishwasher or washing machine during storms.
  • Clear the area around downspouts to allow water to flow freely away from your foundation.
  • Clear drains and sewers of debris and snow to allow drainage for melting.
  • Do not dump fats/oils/greases in private drains or public catch basins.
  • For better resistance to flooding in the future, it can be helpful to install rain gardens, green landscaping, or stormwater trees in your yard to help retain rainwater.

Flooding Information Flyer


Flushing Your Water System 

If your water service has been replaced or you have not used your water for six hours or more, it is important to flush your plumbing of any sediment, rust or metals, including any lead to maintain water quality.

Consumer Lead Testing Results and Requests  

Construction Projects

Neighborhood construction projects involving water and sewer main replacements.

Department Main Office

Water Management

Department Facts

Additional Information


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