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EPA/OW RIN: 2040-AF15 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper: Regulatory Revisions 
Abstract:

The current Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) reduces risks to drinking water consumers from lead and copper that can enter drinking water as a result of corrosion of plumbing materials. The LCR requires water systems to sample at taps in homes with leaded plumbing materials. Depending upon the sampling results, water systems must take actions to reduce exposure to lead and copper including corrosion control treatment, public education and lead service line replacement. The LCR was promulgated in 1991 and, overall, has been effective in reducing the levels of lead and copper in drinking water systems across the country. However, there are significant challenges in the implementation of the current rule, including the degree of flexibility and discretion it affords systems and primacy states with regard to optimization of corrosion control treatment; compliance sampling practices, which in some cases, may not adequately protect from lead exposure; and limited specific focus on key areas of concern such as schools. EPA intends to modernize and strengthen implementation of the LCR, strengthen its public health protections, and clarify its implementation requirements to make it more effective and more readily enforceable.

 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: State, local, or tribal governments 
EO 13771 Designation: Regulatory 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 141    40 CFR 142   
Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 300f et seq., Safe Drinking Water Act   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The LCR was promulgated in 1991 and, overall, has been effective in reducing the levels of lead and copper in drinking water systems across the country. However,  implementation of the current rule poses significant challenges, including the degree of flexibility and discretion it affords systems and primacy States with regard to optimization of corrosion control treatment; compliance sampling practices, which in some cases, may not adequately protect from lead exposure; and limited specific focus on key areas of concern such as schools. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (2016) included amendments to the public notification provisions in section 1414 of the SDWA to address the need for public notification when a water system exceeds the lead action level. The manner, frequency, form, and content for giving notice under Section 1414 must be set forth by regulation. 42 U.S.C. Section 300g-3(c)(2).

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The EPA is publishing the proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule under the authority of the SDWA, as amended by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.

Alternatives:

Alternatives are being considered in the proposed rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The anticipated estimates of the costs and benefits associated with the rulemaking are included with the proposed rule.

Risks:

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters the body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  11/13/2019  84 FR 61684   
NPRM Comment Period End  01/13/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule  
Sectors Affected: 221310 Water Supply and Irrigation Systems; 924110 Administration of Air and Water Resource and Solid Waste Management Programs 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Jeffrey Kempic
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water
4607M,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 564-4880
Email: kempic.jeffrey@epa.gov

Lisa Christ
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 564-8354
Email: christ.lisa@epa.gov