EPA Finalizes Lead and Copper Rule

  • by ACWA Staff
  • Dec 23, 2020
  • Water News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its updated Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). This is the first significant update to regulations governing lead in drinking water in nearly 30 years.

The final rule maintains the federal action level for lead in drinking water at 15 parts per billion (ppb), the point at which water systems have to begin replacing lead service lines. It adds a trigger level of 10 ppb that requires water systems to reassess their water treatment processes and potentially add corrosion-control measures. The rule also requires water utilities to notify customers of system-wide lead concentrations exceeding action levels within 24 hours, requires utilities to replace 3% of lead service lines (the previous rule required 7% removal) in communities where high lead levels are discovered, and for the first time mandates testing in elementary schools and child care facilities.

The rule will become effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Importantly, the rule will not be in effect when President-elect Biden enters the White House. It’s unclear what the Biden Administration will do with the final regulation – whether it will scrap the final rule and initiate a new rulemaking, or allow the final rule to go into effect.

The state of California has done significant work to reduce and minimize exposure to lead and ACWA is tracking what this rule will mean for California water systems.

ACWA previously submitted comments on the proposed rulemaking for the LCR which can be viewed here. For questions regarding the LCR, please contact Federal Relations Representative Madeline Voitier.

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