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New York City residents, including those living in NYCHA public housing, can request a free kit to test drinking water for lead through the Free Residential Lead Testing Program. Lead does not have any color, odor, or taste.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will send you a test kit with instructions for collecting a sample of your drinking water. This kit cannot be used to meet the lead testing requirements for day care centers or other businesses.

You can request a free kit to test your drinking water for lead through the Free Residential Lead Testing Program. Lead does not have any color, odor, or taste.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will send you a test kit with instructions for collecting a sample of your drinking water.
 
This kit is for use in residences, including NYCHA residents, only and cannot be used to meet the lead testing requirements for day care centers or other businesses.

Test Results

The kits are sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results will be mailed out to you within 30 days of the water sample being tested.

Ordering Multiple Kits

You can order only one kit at a time. If you are a landlord who wants to order more than one kit for your building, you must make a separate request for each apartment.

Shipping Details

Water Lead Test Kits are sent via regular mail and arrive within 10 business days of the request. The kits are distributed in a box the size of a shoebox and do not require a signature for delivery.

To return your kit, use the pre-paid label that comes in the box. The return process is free of charge. The box will not fit into the mailbox and must be returned to any U.S. Post Office or handed to your Postal Carrier.

Missing Label

If your return mailing label is lost or missing, call DEP's Lead Program Unit. The number is located at the bottom of the letter included with the kit.

For day care operators who want to test for lead, use the Day Care Permit and Operation page. All other businesses should hire a private laboratory.

New York City water is virtually lead-free when it is delivered from the City’s upstate reservoir system, and it meets or exceeds the highest quality standards. But solder, fixtures, and pipes found in the plumbing of some buildings or homes can cause water to absorb lead. This can increase potential for exposure.

Protective Steps to Reduce Lead Exposure

These simple steps can reduce your exposure to lead in water and protect your health:

  • Run cold-water tap for at least 30 seconds, until the water is noticeably colder, before using it.
  • Only use cold water for drinking, cooking, or making baby formula, after you have run the tap.
  • Remove and clean the faucet screen (aerator) regularly, where small particles can get trapped.

Running the tap is the best way to flush lead from water in pipes.

Water Bill Impacts

Running tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your family's health.  It usually uses only a few gallons of water and costs approximately $1 per month.

More Information About Lead

Online

Learn more about lead in drinking water from NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

Learn more about lead health related-topics or lead poisoning from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For questions about home water filtration.

By Email

Send a message to depleadunit@dep.nyc.gov.

By Phone

Drinking water questions:

  • Agency: Department of Environmental Protection
  • Division: Bureau of Water Supply Lead Unit
  • Phone Number: (718) 595-5364
  • Business Hours: Mon - Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Health-related questions:

Call 311 for assistance.

City Response to Lead in Drinking Water

The City has an active program to reduce the amount of lead that dissolves into tap water, especially in homes with lead service lines or lead soldering in pipes.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) carefully and continuously monitors and adjusts pH levels of water to a specific range that reduces the corrosiveness of the water.

DEP also adds phosphoric acid, a common food preservative, to create a protective film on pipes that reduces the release of metals, such as lead, from household plumbing. Since these treatments were started, the levels of lead in tap water have been going down.

Lead in City Water Supply

Lead is not found at elevated levels in New York City’s reservoirs or distribution system.

Sometimes elevated lead levels are found in tap water samples from corrosion of lead-containing plumbing from older buildings and homes (homes built before 1961 may have lead service lines and plumbing installed before 1987 may contain lead solder).

City owned buildings, including public schools, do not have lead service lines.

The Department of Parks is proactively testing all outdoor drinking fountains in City parks. This is part of a citywide effort to reduce New Yorkers' exposure to lead. When using a public fountain, it's good practice to let the water run for 30 seconds before drinking. 

Visit the Department of Parks and Recreation website.