Lead Water Filters


Credit: Mike Thomas / Creative Commons

Water Filters Available
at the Social Development Commission

Especially important for pregnant women, infants and children age 6 or younger


If you live in a Milwaukee home or duplex built before 1950, your water may contain lead that makes it dangerous to drink.

SDC is distributing lead water filters to expectant mothers and households with children 6 and younger. You may receive a filter if your are not in this population group.

The city of Milwaukee has developed a list identifying homes that have lead laterals or pipes. If your address is on this list, you may come to SDC’s North Avenue office to pick up a free filter designed to keep lead out of your drinking water.


Download Information Flyer

A filter is easy to put on your sink and the health of your family may depend it.

Again, your address must be on the list of affected homes provided by the City of Milwaukee in order to receive a free filter.

This warning isn’t meant to scare you but lead poisoning is a serious issue. Lead-tainted water has a devastating effect on children.

Here are the facts according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.):

Low levels of lead in children can result in:

  • Behavior and learning problems
  • Lower IQ and hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Anemia

It is important to note that in Milwaukee, lead is not found in our drinking water as it leaves our water treatment facilities. When lead is detected, it’s usually because the water that comes to the home flows through lead pipes located underground or inside the home.

What you should do:

Come in or call us about a free water filter certified to remove lead.

Drinking water filters that are certified to remove lead will be labeled with “NSF Standard 53.”

Families who may live in a high-risk home for lead in drinking water, are also advised to follow the steps below to reduce risk of exposure.

  1. Flush your plumbing. Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, flush your plumbing by running the kitchen faucet (or any other tap you take drinking or cooking water from) on cold for a minimum of three minutes (or longer if necessary) until the water is noticeably colder. This is especially important if your water has been sitting in your pipes for more than six hours. 
  2.  Use only cold water for cooking and drinking. Water from the hot water tap can dissolve lead quicker than cold water. Boiling water will not reduce the amount of lead in your drinking or cooking water. You can also consider purchasing bottled water for drinking and cooking from a known lead-free source.  You may also want to consider filling a clean container(s) with water from the flushed tap, and reserving this water for drinking, cooking, or other consumption.
  3. Test blood for lead levels. The City of Milwaukee Health Department advises parents and health care providers to follow the “3 before 3” guidance by testing children for elevated blood lead levels three times before the age of 3. Consult your health care provider or the City of Milwaukee Health Department at 414.286.3521 for further information about blood tests.
Copyright © 2016 Social Development Commission • 1730 West North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53205 • 414 • 906 • 2700