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Ground Water and Drinking Water

Supporting Materials: EPA to Request Additional Input on the Lead and Copper Rule

Questions and Answers

What will the stakeholder process be? 

EPA intends to seek input from local communities and organizations to ensure that their voices are heard, and their feedback is considered. EPA also intends to consult with states, local governments, utilities, and stakeholders to provide feedback to the Agency on the revised LCR. EPA will be posting on our website details about the engagement process in the coming weeks.

Is the Revised Lead and Copper Rule going to be changed?

EPA has not made the determination on how or if the rule will be changed. EPA is issuing a short extension to enable EPA to take public comment on a longer extension of the effective date; that longer extension would allow sufficient time for EPA to complete its review of the rule consistent with directives and conduct important consultations with affected parties.

Why did EPA issue two notices?

The first action is a final rule that announces an extension of the effective date for the revised LCR from March 16, 2021 until June 17, 2021. The purpose of this additional time is to enable EPA to take public comment on a second action that would provide a longer extension of the effective date and for EPA to undertake its review of the rule in a deliberate and thorough manner consistent with the public health purposes of the Safe Drinking Water Act, President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, the President’s Chief of Staff’s Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum, and in consultation with affected stakeholders..

The second action proposes to extend the effective date until December 16, 2021 and also proposes a corresponding extension of the revised LCR’s compliance deadline to September 16, 2024. This action would ensure that drinking water systems and primacy states continue to have the full three years provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act to take actions needed to assure regulatory compliance. EPA is seeking comment on this proposal until April 12, 2021. To submit a comment visit: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0300.

Why did EPA issue the interim extension without consulting with the public?

EPA issued the interim extension as a final rule because EPA does not have sufficient time to take comment prior to the current effective date of March 16, 2021. In addition, the interim change in effective date has minimal adverse impact on regulated entities or the public because states and water systems are not currently required to comply with the revised LCR until January 16, 2024. This first action will allow EPA time to consider comment on the proposal in the second action for a longer extension of the effective date.

Why is EPA proposing to delay the compliance date?

The proposed delay in the compliance date ensures that any delay in the effective date will not reduce the time provided for drinking water systems and primacy states to take actions needed to comply with the revised LCR.

Will this delay public health protections that the public would have received from the revised rule becoming effective?

Water systems currently do not have to comply with the revised LCR until January 16, 2024. The Safe Drinking Water Act specifies that drinking water regulations shall generally require compliance three years after the date a regulation is promulgated. This three-year period is used by states to adopt laws and regulations in order to obtain primary enforcement responsibility for the rule and by water systems to take any necessary actions to meet the compliance deadlines in the rule. While the proposed nine month extension in the compliance deadline may postpone actions by water systems, it is appropriate to enable a review of the revised LCR prior to the rule going into effect consistent with Biden-Harris Administration Executive Order 13990 and other directives and consult with stakeholders to ensure EPA is following the best science to address lead in the nation’s drinking water and make sure communities that have been impacted the most are protected.

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