EPA announces enhanced oversight of Lead and Copper Rule implementation

Established in 1991, EPA’s LCR requires public water systems to monitor and report lead and copper in drinking water that may result from corrosion of household plumbing or a water distribution system components. Established in 1991, EPA’s LCR requires public water systems to monitor and report lead and copper in drinking water that may result from corrosion of household plumbing or a water distribution system components. Established in 1991, EPA’s LCR requires public water systems to monitor and report lead and copper in drinking water that may result from corrosion of household plumbing or a water distribution system components. Established in 1991, EPA’s LCR requires public water systems to monitor and report lead and copper in drinking water that may result from corrosion of household plumbing or a water distribution system components.

Mar 3rd, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 3, 2016 -- Prompted by the water crisis in Flint, Mich., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 29 announced plans to increase oversight of state drinking water programs tasked with implementing EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).

Established in 1991, EPA’s LCR requires public water systems to monitor and report lead and copper in drinking water that may result from corrosion of household plumbing or a water distribution system components. If lead concentrations exceed 15 parts per billion or copper concentrations exceed 1.3 parts per million in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the water system must take corrective action to control corrosion and inform the public.

Specific steps related to EPA’s enhanced oversight plan were laid out in letters sent to governors and state primacy agencies in every state. A technical memo providing clarifications on recommended tap sampling procedures for LCR testing accompanied the letters.

According to the letters, EPA will meet with every state drinking water program nationwide to address LCR implementation issues and provide training for state and public water systems on LCR requirements. State agencies also will receive additional information related to optimal corrosion control treatment and proper LCR sampling techniques.

“We must work together to address the broad set of challenges and opportunities we face—including in the areas of infrastructure finance and investment, science technology, legacy and emerging contaminants, regulatory oversight, risk assessment and public engagement and education,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy in the letter sent to state governors. “I ask that you encourage your state agency to give this effort the highest priority.”

EPA also is encouraging state agencies to improve public transparency and accountability by posting information related to state testing methods and public water system testing results on public websites and ensuring that California residents receive the testing results from their homes and information on how to reduce lead risks.

“These actions are essential to restoring public confidence in our shared work to ensure safe drinking water for the American people,” the state agency letter reads.

According to EPA proposed changes to the LCR are expected in 2017. The LCR was last revised in 2007 and changes to the rule were previously expected in 2016.

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