Researchers at the University of Michigan are trying to take a bite out of America’s $275 billion lead service line replacement problem by promoting a data strategy used in Flint.

Research released Aug. 9 could save Flint, Mich., roughly $10 million by helping the city prioritize which service lines to test or quickly replace, based on comprehensive public data crunched by university students and contractors.

“In a perfect world, every home would be inspected, physically, and for every home its water would be tested. But that’s not the world we’re living in, it’s not an infinite budget,” Eric Schwartz...