Dozens of homeowners in the City of Youngstown are receiving calls from the Youngstown Water Department, requesting water samples in exchange for money off of their water bill. 

21 News looked into the calls and has learned they are legitimate as the city works to find lead in pipes around town. 

Water Commissioner Harry Johnson told 21 News it's a process the city has done before but not every home receives a water sample request. Homes that are considered 'Tier One properties' are likely to require a sample, which is a home built before 1945 that's had previous traces of lead in its pipes.

The department is also looking for homes that have never been tested before. The lab testing is funded by the Youngstown water department's budget, according to Johnson. 

The city typically collects 30 samples but this time around, 100 samples are looking to be collected. Up to $50 could be knocked off of a water bill for homeowner's participation.

The water department sends out a container that is filled by the homeowner. The water department takes the sample to an independent lab for results.

Those results are sent to the EPA and water department. 

"The Ohio EPA, along with Youngstown, will receive copies of the test results from the certified drinking water laboratory conducting the copper and lead sampling analyses," explained Anthony Chenault, Media Coordinator with the Ohio EPA. "The sampling by Youngstown is conducted by all community public water systems. The number of samples needed is based on population, and the frequency is based on factors that include historical sample results, changes in treatment to the drinking water, and changes in source water used for drinking water. This sampling is needed to determine if the materials delivering drinking water to customers (pipes connecting the water main on the street to homes and businesses, pipes in the homes, etc.) are corroding when in contact with the drinking water. If enough of the samples show elevated levels of lead, then additional actions will be required by the water system to correct the issue. This would include a system-wide notification and educational materials sent to all customers of the public water system."

If you received a phone call notice, it's best to call the water department to ensure your tap water is safe to be drinking. The city is not asking homeowners for money or personal information.

21 News also reached out to the Ohio EPA to learn more about the process.

If you are interested in having your water sampled, contact the Youngstown Water Department at (330) 742-8749.