EPA Proposes Lead and Copper Rule Amendment


Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule amendment that would be the first significant overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991, a proposal that both marks Children’s Health Month and acts as a step forward for the Trump administration’s plan to reduce childhood exposure to lead.

The proposal was announced Oct. 10 by EPA Regional Administrator Mike Stoker during an event in Las Vegas. According to The Washington Post, the EPA’s proposal aims at improving how communities test for lead in drinking water, as well as spurring quicker response times if problems become evident.

EPA Copper and Lead Rule

According to the EPA, the proposal is a holistic rule amendment, with planned results to include requiring water systems to act sooner in order to better public health and reduce lead levels, facilitate transparency and communications, and improve the protection of both children and the most at-risk communities.

The proposa would require community systems take action by:

  • Identifying the most impacted areas via an inventory of lead service lines, which also includes water services finding and fixing sources of lead when a sample from a home exceeds 15 parts per billion;
  • Strengthening drinking water treatment via corrosion control treatment, as well as the establishment of a new trigger level of 10 ppb;
  • Replacing lead service lines, both when requested by a customer as well as the service replacing line when needed;
  • Improving drinking water reliability by adjusting sampling sites to areas with higher levels of lead;
  • Facilitating communication with costumers by requiring that systems notify customers within 24 hours if a sample from their home is over 15 ppb; and
  • Improving the protection of children in schools and child care by having services take samples that use their system.

According to the Post, the amended rule has been under development since 2010, and is meant to tackle lead levels across 68,000 public water systems.

“Today, the Trump Administration is delivering on its commitment to ensure all Americans have access to clean drinking water by proposing the first major overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule in over two decades,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“By improving protocols for identifying lead, expanding sampling and strengthening treatment requirements, our proposal would ensure that more water systems proactively take actions to prevent lead exposure, especially in schools, child care facilities, and the most at-risk communities. We are also working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to encourage states and cities to make full use of the many funding and financing options provided by the federal government.”

At the time of the announcement, the EPA and Department of Housing and Urban Development also launched a new website that offers information on available federal programs geared toward helping finance lead service line replacement. The information also includes case studies pertaining to similar projects.


Tagged categories: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA; Government; Health & Safety; Lead; NA; North America; Pipes

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