EPA Releases New Lead and Copper Rule Proposal
On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator unveiled the Agency’s new proposed Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).  The revisions are the first major overhaul to the LCR since its inception in 1991. The new proposed rule focuses on actions that community water systems would need to take in six areas:
  1. Preparing and regularly updating a publicly-available inventory of lead service lines and requiring systems to “find-and-fix” sources of lead when a home sample exceeds 15 parts per billion (ppb);
  2. Requiring corrosion control treatment based on tap sampling results and establishing a new trigger of 10 ppb;
  3. Requiring water systems to replace the portion of the lead service line when a customer chooses to replace the portion owned by the customer;
  4. Requiring water systems to follow new, improved sampling procedures and adjust sampling sites to better target locations with higher lead levels;
  5. Requiring water systems to notify customers within 24 hours if a sample collected in their home is above 15 ppb, and requiring regular outreach to homeowners with lead service lines; and
  6. Requiring water systems to take drinking water samples from the schools and child care facilities served by that system.
You can find additional materials on the proposed rule on the EPA website, including an infographic, a fact sheet, a reference guide for Public Water Systems, a FAQ document, and the Agency press release.
APWA issued commentsto EPA in March of 2018 to inform the Agency in their work to create this proposed rule. In those comments, APWA outlined five key actions that would need to be taken:
  1. Require all systems with known lead service lines, regardless of population served, to install and maintain corrosion control treatment (CCT);
  2. Dedicate additional EPA and other federal funds to providing resources (direct funding, technical assistance, incentives, etc.) to small and disadvantaged systems to help in installing and maintaining CCT;
  3. Make regular evaluation of their CCT a requirement for systems that would be reviewed by the state with primary regulatory authority;
  4. Implement a “sliding scale” for installing CCT, with smaller systems a longer period to install and optimize CCT;
  5. Make completing a full inventory of lead service lines an Agency priority, with the goal of allowing water utilities to use the inventory to assist in replacement of those lines in their service area.
Much of the proposed rule aligns with APWA’s comments from 2018. However, EPA is requesting comments on this new proposed rule within sixty days of publication in the Federal Register. APWA will be working with its relevant technical committees to produce new comment based on this proposed rule.
If you have questions or comments about the new proposed Lead and Copper Rule, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia.