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Lead and Copper Rule Long-Term Revisions


Lead exposure occurs through many pathways, including soil, dust, food, and drinking water. Through a series of policies – including the phase-outs of lead in gasoline and paint – the U.S. has made major progress in reducing lead exposure and childhood blood lead levels over the past several decades. Although the LCR has resulted in substantial reductions in lead in drinking water, there is a compelling need to strengthen its public health protections and clarify its implementation requirements.

Proposed Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule

EPA’s proposed Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) includes a suite of actions to reduce lead exposure in drinking water where it is needed the most. The proposed rule will identify the most at-risk communities and ensure systems have plans in place to rapidly respond by taking actions to reduce elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

EPA’s Lead and Copper Proposed Rule reflects input received from the agency’s state, local, and tribal partners, the Science Advisory Board, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, and best available peer-reviewed science. The public comment period is now closed.  To visit the Federal Register visit  Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0300.

LCR White Paper

In 2016, EPA developled the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions White Paper to outline potential regulatory options for improving the rule, at that time. It also highlighted key challenges, opportunities and analytical issues with each of the options described.

Federalism Consultation

Consistent with E.O. 13132, EPA is consulted with state and local government officials, or their representatives during the development of the proposed revisions to Lead and Copper Rule. Read more.

Lead Modeling Peer Review

As a part of EPA’s ongoing effort to understand and assess lead exposure to children, EPA conducted a peer review of draft scientific modeling approaches to inform EPA’s evaluation of potential health-based benchmarks for lead in drinking water. Read more.

Stakeholder Consultations

To help shape an updated Lead and Copper Rule, EPA engaged with multiple stakeholders representing a wide range of expertise. 

National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) Lead and Copper Rule Working Group

The NDWAC Lead and Copper Rule Working Group was convened beginning in March 2014 to provide advice to EPA in addressing the five issues listed below:
  • Sample site selection criteria;
  • Lead sampling protocols;
  • Public education for copper;
  • Measures to ensure optimal corrosion control treatment; and
  • Lead service line replacement.

Science Advisory Board Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Partial Lead Service Line Replacements

EPA’s Office of Water requested the Science Advisory Board (SAB) evaluate the current scientific data to determine the effectiveness of partial lead service line replacements (PLSLR) in reducing drinking water lead levels. The SAB convened the Drinking Water Committee Augmented for the Review of the Effectiveness of Partial Lead Service Line Replacements to study the issues and report their findings and conclusions. The charge to the SAB was centered around five issues including: 
  • Associations between PLSLR and blood lead levels in children;
  • Water sampling data at the tap before and after PLSLR;
  • Comparisons between partial and full lead service line replacements;
  • PLSLR techniques; and
  • The impact of galvanic corrosion. 

Stakeholder Meeting Concerning Potential Long-Term Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule

EPA held a public meeting on November 4, 2010 to discuss potential Long-Term Revisions to the LCR. The meeting was held to obtain stakeholder feedback about key issues and options to address the issues.

Tribal Consultations

Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule may impact tribes. EPA previously consulted via teleconference with Indian Tribes on the proposed LCR revisions in 2011 and is conducting another round of consultation in 2018. Additional details and background information regarding this consultation can be found in the Tribal Notification Documents.

Environmental Justice

Because LCR revisions may have environmental justice impacts, in 2011 EPA held a public meeting to discuss environmental justice considerations.