75 Church Street, Auburn, MA 01501 (508) 832-5336

How to Determine Service Line Material

Steps to Locate and Identify Your Water Service Line

Step by Step Instructions

1- Locate your Service Line and Water Meter

  • Service Line

Look for where your water service enters your property. Most services enter through the lowest level of your property, up through the basement floor, or low along the foundation wall. Your water service will always be connected to the District’s water meter.
  • Water Meter

Water Meter Your water meter may be located in the basement, a crawlspace, a utility closet or garage.

 2- Identify Your Service

Once you have located your water service, you will need to determine your water service pipe material.

You will need two items to help you identify your service material:

  • Magnet
  • Key or Coin

Start by testing your service line with the magnet. If the magnet sticks to the pipe, it is likely galvanized iron. To confirm it is galvanized iron, use your key or coin, to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe. DO NOT use a sharp object to perform the scratch test, and be careful not to puncture a hole in the pipe.

  1. If the pipe is black, blue, or white with lettering along the length of the pipe, it is most likely plastic. Plastic will not scratch easily and will not be magnetic.
  2. Copper is identifiable by its color, usually dull, oxidized green, or brown, and will shine like a new penny when scratched. Copper is not magnetic.
  3. Lead pipe is very soft and will be easily scratched. If the scratching reveals a soft, dull, silver-gray color, and the pipe is not magnetic, it is likely lead.

Four Most Common Pipe Materials





  • Magnetic
  • Dull gray (may become rusty-looking due to oxidation)
  • Also known as iron or steal
  • Non-magnetic
  • New copper looks like a shiny new penny
  • Old copper will become shiny when scratched
  • May have a blue-green or brown-green discoloration due to oxidation
  • Non-magnetic
  • Usually blue or black or sometimes white
  • Also known as high-density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, or polyethylene pipe
  • Non-magnetic
  • Dull, silver-gray color
  • Soft and easily scratched
  • Scratched area becomes shiny like a new nickel

3- Submit Your Service Line Material Here:

Please complete the Customer Survey Form using the link below.  Enter your address, account number, select the material that the private portion of your service line is made of (if you were able to determine), and uploading one or more pictures of your pipe where it enters the building. This information is crucial for completing the EPA-required system-wide inventory.

Auburn Water Customer Survey Form


Please note that The District mailed postcards to customers whose water service line material is unknown.



Have Questions or Need Assistance?

Contact the District during our business hours


Monday – Friday – 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM