EPA Finalizes Major Update to the Lead and Copper Rule

EPA Finalizes Major Update to the Lead and Copper RuleOn December 22, 2020, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the first major update to the agency’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in nearly 30 years. This update strengthens every aspect of the LCR and accelerates actions that reduce lead in drinking water.

“This new Lead and Copper Rule will protect children and families from exposure to lead in drinking water,” Wheeler said. “For the first time in nearly 30 years, this action incorporates best practices and strengthens every aspect of the rule, including closing loopholes, accelerating the real world pace of lead service line replacement, and ensuring that lead pipes will be replaced in their entirety.”

The old LCR created many loopholes so that only 1 percent of utilities actually replaced lead pipes as a result of an action level exceedance. It also allowed up to 48 months to pass before corrosion control was in place after a water system exceeded the action level and failed to require all systems to test for lead in drinking water in elementary schools and child care facilities.

The updated Lead and Copper Rule includes improvement such as:

  • Using science-based testing to better locate elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
  • Establishing a trigger level to jumpstart mitigation earlier and in more communities.
  • Driving more and complete lead service line replacements.
  • For the first time, requiring testing in elementary schools and child care facilities.
  • Requiring water systems to identify and make public the locations of lead service lines.

For more information on the new LCR, visit the U.S. EPA’s website.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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