Updated June 1, 2021: On Jan. 15, 2021, the U.S. EPA published the final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The new LCRR will provide greater and more effective protection of public health by reducing exposure to lead and copper in drinking water. Compared to the current LCR, the new LCRR should better identify high levels of lead and improve the reliability of lead tap sampling results. The new rule also triggers earlier actions to address lead at customer taps and more effectively manage corrosion control treatment. In addition, the LCRR intends to empower communities through an improved information infrastructure that will provide more accurate information about lead levels, lead service lines (LSLs), and available resources to address lead in drinking water.

The LCRR will also require water systems to undertake certain actions within a relatively short-time period. Among these actions, systems will have to develop an LSL inventory to identify areas most impacted and revise sampling sites, identify schools and licensed childcare facilities and develop a sampling protocol to test for lead at these establishments, and likely develop an LSL replacement plan. These tasks will be due by the compliance date, i.e., Jan. 16, 2024 (a proposal submitted in March 2021 would delay the compliance date to Sept. 16, 2024).

This final rule will be effective on June 17, 2021 (the March proposal would delay the effective date to Dec. 16, 2021).

“The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) is one of the most complex regulations for water systems, and the new Revisions to the LCR add provisions that water systems will need to implement rapidly.”

Hélène Baribeau, Distribution System Water Quality Leader

About the experts

Dr. Hélène Baribeau is Brown and Caldwell’s Distribution System Water Quality Leader based in San Diego, California. Dr. Baribeau has 30 years of experience including disinfection processes and disinfection byproducts (DBPs), microorganism inactivation and control, various treatment processes, water quality in distribution systems including corrosion control, and regulatory compliance for drinking water and recycled water.

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