MLGW publishes imperfect, dated info on lead water pipes as a start

mlgw-small-logoMemphis Light, Gas and Water Division is providing online access to a recently-discovered 16-year-old database of early water service line records that was found in its archives.

The records, announced on Friday, May 27, indicate the possible location and composition of some water service lines.

Out of approximately 288,000 water service line records included in the database, there were 36,483 records of service lines possibly made of lead, installed between 1874 and 1940. (MLGW was established in 1939.)

Those records now can be accessed in a PDF format at

A map of the addresses listed on those records accompanies the database. Customers can see if a record exists for their address.

MLGW cautions customers that the database does contain inaccuracies, although MLGW has made an effort to correct most of the obvious ones.

Still, the database omits some addresses where it is possible that lead service lines exist. There could be homes that once had lead service lines but those lines have been replaced, or are vacant lots where homes once stood, or instances where the material noted for the service line was incorrectly stated on the original record in the archive.

Inaccuracies in the records will be corrected, over time, as MLGW begins field inspections to verify the recorded material used for its service lines. The inspections will start later this year and be completed by 2020.

The data correction process will cause the stated number of homes that have lead service lines to fluctuate on a daily basis.

Though MLGW’s artesian well water has consistently met EPA drinking water standards, MLGW is providing public access as part of its commitment to water quality. Lead paint is the overwhelming cause of lead exposure in Memphis and across the country.

MLGW officials said they are aware of no evidence linking lead poisoning with MLGW’s drinking water. They also said Memphis is fortunate to have the best-quality drinking water in the U.S.

MLGW provides free water sample testing. Customers can either call (901) 544-6549 to request a water test or send an email to and include their name and phone number.

Annual Water Quality Reports are online at More information about lead is available at