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What is the LCRR?

What Are the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)?

 

What does the revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR) mean for you? 

The new Lead and Copper Rule Revisions introduce a proactive approach to protecting children and communities from the risks of lead exposure. First introduced in 1991, the Lead and Copper Rule was last revised in 2019. (You can read our coverage of the LCR’s 2019 updates for schools and childcare centers here). This time around, the EPA talked with states, tribes, water utilities, and traditionally underserved communities to substantially improve the outlook of water quality in America. 

In this blog post, we’ll start with an overview of what’s new and how it matters to you. While the revisions put the brunt of the workload on utilities and treatment plants, information for you—the consumer—is still crucial. Expect ongoing coverage of the revisions as things develop.

What Are the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)?

While the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) has undergone a number of tweaks, this latest batch of revisions is the largest overhaul since its introduction. LCRR focuses on getting the lead out of our nation’s drinking water, period. It fundamentally changes how utilities and water systems test for and remediate lead in drinking water, as well as how they communicate with residents. Improvements include:

  • Compiling a complete service line inventory (i.e. cataloging the material of the pipes in your water system), identifying the most impacted areas, and providing a publicly available inventory of lead service lines.

  • Requiring complete lead service line replacements, supported by major federal funding.

  • Increase frequency of water quality sampling in certain systems.

  • Establishing a Lead Trigger Level of 10 PPB to to make utilities jumpstart mitigation efforts before hitting the Action Level of 15 PPB.

  • Introducing a rigorous testing schedule in all schools and child care facilities.

  • Consolidating and digitizing data to prioritize customer education and notification.

What Does LCRR Mean For Me?

The Lead Copper Rule Revisions translate to a lot of work for schools, utilities, and treatment plants in order to meet the new standards. But, what about your household? 

  • If your area will be undergoing service line replacement, you may receive a lab testing kit in the mail to test your tap water. It is important to follow through. Robust tap sampling methods are essential to determining whether the source of potential lead contamination is a service line or leaded plumbing materials within a residence. For a general introduction to proper sampling methods, read this post.

  • If you work for a school or child care facility, you’ll want to read this post for more information.

Utilities are being urged to digitize their services. New digital solutions will help predict the locations of lead service lines more cost-effectively by using a combination of existing inventories, geographic information systems, and predictive modeling. Introducing a wider range of communication options for customers—like text, email, and in-app notifications—allows residents to be informed of water quality issues quicker than ever before.

  • You may be hearing from your utility about your communication preferences. Updated customer data will ensure pre- and post-replacement sample kits, filter pitchers, etc. will be sent to the correct address and that residents will be able to track which lines have been replaced or need replacing.

  • LCRR includes a three day notification requirement if an exceedance of the action level (15 PPB) is found. This timeline (brought down from 30 days) means utilities will need to understand your needs and preferences to be able to act accordingly.

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What’s Next for LCRR?

At the moment, all utilities and water systems are working hard to develop plans to replace their lead service lines. Utilities must have a plan by October 16, 2024, but there is currently no federal timeline for replacing the service lines. In the meantime, the EPA is preparing new guidance for the LCRR to assist local water systems, state primary agencies, and other partners. It will also update the Safe Drinking Water Information System to support state and Tribal data management needs for inventories. 

Education is a major priority. Surveys show Americans have less trust in the quality of their water than ever before. The LCRR includes opportunities for water systems to educate their residents about lead, why it’s dangerous, how it gets into drinking water, and what steps are being taken to remediate the situation. Proactively educating residents and maintaining a communication plan means you can expect to hear from your water utility more than ever before.  

As the overhaul progresses, new information will come to light—as well as new needs and methods. We will update you every step of the way. Remember, knowing what’s in your water is only half the way to understanding the needs of your water system. Tap Score is here to provide unparalleled assistance with information in addition to our test kits. Feel free to contact

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