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Drinking Water Requirements for States and Public Water Systems

Drinking Water Lead and Copper Rule Historical Documents

On this page:

Lead in Drinking Water Regulation: Public Education Guidance

Although developed to support implementation of the 2000 revisions to the LCR, these guidance documents are still relevant for public water systems and states.

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Lead and Copper Rule: Summary of Revisions

This guidance summarizes changes that were made to the 1991 Rule in 2000.

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Summary of lead action level exceedances for medium (serving 3,300 to 50,000 people) and large (serving greater than 50,000 people) public water systems (PWSs)

The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) requires that PWSs conduct monitoring of lead from customer taps. This is every six months, annually, or triennially, depending on the levels of lead. There is less frequent monitoring if levels are low. In some cases, small PWSs can monitor every nine years.

If 10 percent of the homes that are tested have lead levels greater than the action level (AL) of 15 ppb, the system must:

  • Increase monitoring, and
  • Undertake additional efforts to control corrosion and inform the public.

A PWS (or the state) must calculate the lead level at the 90th percentile. If a PWS monitors 100 homes, it sorts its results from the lowest to the highest concentration. It then reports the concentration it observed in the 90th sample.

Note that exceeding the action level alone is not a violation of the regulation. PWSs are assigned a violation when they fail to perform actions required by the regulations. This happens after the action level is exceeded.

The Safe Drinking Water Information System/Federal Version (SDWIS/FED) contains information that PWSs are required to submit to states. Since 2002, states have been required to report to EPA the 90th percentile lead concentrations reported by PWSs serving more than 3,300 regardless of whether the system is over the action level (note: states could report since 2000).

A report that follows below summarizes findings for PWSs that:

  • Serve more than 50,000 people, and
  • Serve from 3,300 to 50,000 people for data in SDWIS/FED as of June 1, 2004.

There is a table that shows up to date information from SDWIS/FED (as of January 2005). Ninety-six percent of utilities that monitored and reported 90th percentile results are below the action level. EPA will provide updates to this data periodically.

The summary report and spreadsheets below provide information on individual utilities. Utilities must also include the results of tap monitoring in reports they provide to customers. Customers should read this annual report to find out more about:

  • Lead levels in their drinking water, and
  • How their utility is working to reduce lead levels in drinking water.

Customers should contact PWSs if they have any questions.

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Drinking Water Lead Reduction Plan EPA Activities to Improve Implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule

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Back to the Lead and Copper Rule page.