EPA Overhauls Lead and Copper Rule for First Time in Decades

By on December 30, 2020
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For the first time in three decades, the federal government updated its Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).

The Environmental Protection Agency’s 409-page updated version requires water utilities to test for lead at schools and child-care facilities and establish a new “trigger level” for contamination at which systems must review their water treatment procedures and consult with state regulators on potential improvements.

The EPA also said it will require water systems to create an inventory of lead service lines and to make those findings public. When a utility finds elevated lead levels, it now will have to notify homeowners within three days. Utilities will also have to develop assistance programs for low-income residents to remove lead pipes within their homes.

The EPA said it plans to publish the final text of the rule in the coming weeks. It will come into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and will start to be enforced about three years after that.