Federalism consultation for the lead and copper rule long term regulatory revisions
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Federalism Consultation for the Lead and Copper Rule Long-Term Regulatory Revisions. Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water November 15, 2011 . Purpose & Overview. Purpose : To obtain input on key areas of the Lead and Copper Rule Long-term Rule Revisions Overview : Background

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Federalism Consultation for the Lead and Copper Rule Long-Term Regulatory Revisions

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Federalism consultation for the lead and copper rule long term regulatory revisions

Federalism Consultation for the Lead and Copper Rule Long-Term Regulatory Revisions

Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water

November 15, 2011

Purpose overview

Purpose & Overview


  • To obtain input on key areas of the Lead and Copper Rule Long-term Rule Revisions


  • Background

  • Key areas for rule revisions

  • Next steps

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Background lead and copper rule lcr

BackgroundLead and Copper Rule (LCR)

  • National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) promulgated June 7, 1991

    • Addresses corrosion of lead and copper in drinking water

      • primarily from service lines and household plumbing

    • Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG)

      • Lead – 0 µg/L

      • Copper – 1.3 mg/L

    • Requires a treatment technique (optimized corrosion control) rather than a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)

    • Tap sampling results are compared to an action level

      • Lead - 15 µg/L

      • Copper - 1.3 mg/L

    • Action level for lead is a screen for optimal corrosion control as part of the treatment technique. It is based on treatment feasibility; NOT on a health threshold

Background actions triggered under action level exceedance

BackgroundActions Triggered Under Action Level Exceedance

  • If the 90th percentile of a system’s lead sampling results exceed the action level, a system must:

    • 1Optimize corrosion control (for systems < 50,000 people)

      • Identify and install optimal corrosion control treatment

      • Comply with State-specified optimal water quality parameters

    • Public Education

      • Mandatory language for pamphlets and brochures on lead

      • Deliver materials to all bill-paying customers

      • Deliver materials to organizations that serve sensitive subpopulations (e.g., schools, pediatricians)

    • Lead Service Line Replacement

      • replace the portion of the lead service lines system owns

      • offer to replace the customer’s portion of service line at cost

      • lines where samples are below action level may also be considered replaced

      • replace 7% of the lead service lines each year

1Systems serving 50,000 or greater must optimize corrosion control regardless of lead and copper levels

Key areas for rule revisions

Key Areas for Rule Revisions

  • Sample Site Selection Criteria

  • Lead Sample Protocol

  • Public Education for Copper

  • Measures to Ensure Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment

  • Lead Service Line Replacement

Federalism consultation for the lead and copper rule long term regulatory revisions

Current Site Selection Criteria, Lead (Pb) & Copper (Cu)





Sample site selection criteria where to sample for lead and copper

Sample Site Selection CriteriaWhere to sample for lead and copper

  • Lead and copper is sampled at homes that are likely to have the highest lead concentrations (older homes).

  • Copper corrosion is usually associated with newer homes, which currently are not required by the LCR to be sampled.

  • Sensitive populations are not considered in site selection. Sites are selected to assess performance of corrosion control treatment, not to assess impacts of adverse exposure

    Key Questions:

  • If there are changes to the sample site selection (e.g., sampling copper at newer homes) how would it impact States and local governments?

Lcr sampling protocol

LCR Sampling Protocol

  • Goal – To sample at sites likely to have the highest lead levels in 1991

    • Select sites based on newest leaded solder and lead service lines which were considered major lead sources

    • Collect first draw samples from cold water kitchen or bathroom tap – minimum 6 hours standing time

  • 1-Liter first-draw sample

  • Residents may take samples, if instructions are provided by the water system

    • Water system cannot challenge results based on sampling collection errors

Lead sampling protocol at lsl sites how to take a lead sample

Lead Sampling Protocol at LSL SitesHow to take a lead sample

  • Water in the lead service line (LSL) is mostlikely to have the highest concentration of lead.

  • The current sampling protocol (first draw sample) does not capture water representative of the lead service line.

  • First draw samples would be taken at non-LSL sites

  • Some sampling instructions include recommendations to flush the tap prior to the start of the stagnation period. Pre-stagnation flushing may lower first draw lead levels.

    Key Questions:

  • If water systems are required to sample the water in the LSL instead of taking first draw samples, what are some challenges States and local governments would face with this new protocol?

Public education for copper how to educate consumers about copper

Public Education for CopperHow to educate consumers about copper

  • Monitoring locations selected primarily based on greatest risk of lead (not copper corrosion).

  • No educational or exposure mitigation materials are currently provided for copper.

  • Health effects of copper are nausea and vomiting (short-term).

    • may be liver damage, possible immune system depression in sensitive subpopulations (Wilson’s disease and carriers of Wilson’s disease gene).

      Key Questions:

  • What do the States and local governments think are the most effective ways for systems to deliver educational materials about copper to consumers?

Optimal corrosion control treatment occt

Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment (OCCT)

For large systems and small/medium > AL

  • Currently, systems make optimal corrosion control recommendation to State for approval (State approves or designates alternative)

  • Follow-up monitoring conducted for one-year

  • State reviews data and designates optimal water quality parameters (WQP) (i.e., min/max pH, alkalinity, inhibitor concentration, etc.)

  • Systems maintain WQP, and report to State (in addition to Pb/Cu tap sampling)

  • Systems compliance with the treatment technique is based on WQP (not Pb/Cu levels) and on whether they perform the required actions when the AL is exceeded.

  • Small/medium can discontinue if they meet AL in two consecutive periods

Measures to ensure optimal corrosion control treatment water quality parameter monitoring

Measures to Ensure Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Water Quality Parameter Monitoring

  • Optimal Water Quality Parameter (OWQPs) ranges may not be set as tightly as needed to assure corrosion control is optimized.

    • Some systems that comply with their OWQPs still exceed the action level

  • Flexibility exists under the current rule for systems to utilize point of use devices to meet the action level and be deemed optimized. However, there is no provision in the regulation itself that specifies systems can use this option.

    Key Question:

  • What are the burdens to States and local governments if systems that have optimized corrosion control, but still exceed the lead or copper action level, are required to re-evaluate their corrosion control treatment and propose modifications to the State?

Science advisory board sab review

Science Advisory Board (SAB) Review

  • March 2011 consultation with SAB Drinking Water Committee

    • Purpose – evaluate current scientific data to determine effectiveness of partial lead service line replacements (PLSLRs) in reducing drinking water lead levels

  • SAB Draft Final Report September 2011. Recommendations include:

    • “The available scientific evidence regarding BLLs and PLSLRs, while limited to this study, does not support the use of PLSLR as an effective or safe measure to reduce short- term Pb exposure of those served by lead service lines.

    • “In studies of full LSLR and PLSLR, the evaluation periods have been too short to fully assess differential reductions in drinking water lead levels. With this caveat, full LSLR appears generally effective in reliably achieving long-term reductions in drinking water lead levels, unlike PLSLR.”

    • “There are insufficient data to reliably predict whether the tap water lead level will significantly increase following a PLSLR in a given home or distribution system, the extent to which it will increase, or how long the increase will persist.”

    • “Studies examining PLSLR techniques (e.g., cutting techniques, flushing) did not provide definitive information on the impact that these techniques could have on lead release…SAB finds that the development of a Standard Operating Procedure for PLSLR is premature.”

    • “The SAB concludes that insertion of a dielectric (to eliminate galvanic corrosion) will likely reduce lead levels in tap water, but it cannot confidently estimate the magnitude of the reductions because the contribution of galvanic corrosion and depositional corrosion to drinking water lead levels has not been quantified.”

Lead service line replacement requirements

Lead Service Line Replacement Requirements

  • Systems affected – systems exceeding the lead AL after installation of corrosion control treatment (CCT) are in the lead service line replacement program (LSLRP)

  • Duration – 15 years or until system meets lead AL in two consecutive 6-month monitoring periods

  • A replacement includes:

    • Full replacement where home owner pays for removal of the portion of the line that they own

    • Physical replacement of at least the portion the system owns, or

    • Sites where lead levels from all service line samples are at or below 15 ppb

Lead service line replacement requirements1

Lead Service Line Replacement Requirements

  • Partial lead service line replacement (PLSLR) occurs when the system replaces the portion of the line it owns, but the homeowner can’t replace their portion

    Issue: PLSLR causes temporary spikes in lead levels, which is an exposure risk for consumers. Overall the SAB concluded that based on the current scientific data, PLSLRs have not been shown to be effective at reducing lead levels in the short-term. SAB did not have enough information to determine if there were long-term benefits of partial replacements.

    Key Question:

  • How would States, local governments, and water systems address the exposure risk caused by temporary spikes following LSL replacement?

Next steps

Next Steps

  • Publish Proposed Rule Revisions for comment, 2012

  • Promulgate Final Rule Revisions, 2013

  • LCR Revisions become effective, 2016

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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