Case studies

Madison Water Utility

Taking a truly One Water approach, Madison, Wisconsin, implemented the nation’s first city-wide lead service line replacement program to comply with drinking water standards. By avoiding the need for ongoing treatment, as of 2018, this program already saved Madison approximately $2.5 million in costs. Click the link below to download the full case study.

Project at a Glance

Utility Overview

  • Utility: Madison Water Utility
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Population served: 250,000
  • Service area: 100 square miles


  • Elevated levels of lead in drinking water
  • Need for innovative way to meet the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule


  • A comprehensive Lead Line Replacement Program that mandated all lead service lines, both on public and private property, in Madison are replaced over a 10-year period.

Costs and Funding Sources

  • Total program cost: ~$15.5 million
    • Reimbursements Replacement Cost (Private lead lines): ~$3.8 million
    • Replacement Cost (Public lead lines): ~$9.6 million
  • Funding sources:
    • Antenna rental revenues: Used for replacements on private property
    • Capital improvement budget: $1-1.5 million annually between 2000 and 2006 used for utility-side lead service replacements (approximately 15% of overall annual capital budget); less than $100,000 annually after 2006

Benefits of Madison's Lead Service Line Replacement Program

Puts Madison on the map as a national leader for service line replacement
Improves water quality and reduces lead levels in drinking water
Protects public health and safety
Saves approximately $2.5 million in costs (as of 2018) by avoiding the need for ongoing treatment
Engages the community

Check out WaterNow’s Tap into Resilience Toolkit to learn even more about investing in localized solutions like Madison’s in your community.


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