EPA revises “Lead and Copper Rule” White Paper

The Lead and Copper Rule Revisions White Paper was release by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 26 October 2016, several months ahead of a 2017 deadline. The paper includes options to improve existing rules.

From EPA.gov:

The LCR Revisions White Paper provides examples of regulatory options to improve the existing rule. The paper highlights key challenges, opportunities, and analytical issues presented by these options. Options include lead service line replacement, improving optimal corrosion control treatment requirements, consideration of a health-based benchmark, the potential role of point-of-use filters, clarifications or strengthening of tap sampling requirements, increased transparency, and public education requirements.

Replacing ALL lead service lines in the country is one option noted, though the estimated price tag of $16 to $80 billion dollars may be prohibitive. This is the cost to both utilities that own the water lines to a property boundary and to the home owner / property owner that is responsible for the water line from the boundary into the home or building.

Lead in plumbing materials was banned by Congress in 1986.

The Lead and Copper Rule was put in place in 1991 and according to the EPA White Paper has made significant strides in lowering the Blood Lead Level of our youngest children – to a median level of 1 microgram per deciliter. That means there are still children with much higher lead levels. There is more that EPA admits can be done as evidenced by the Flint, Michigan water crisis and notice of nearly one-quarter of Chicago’s public water fountains showed lead levels higher than the EPA’s ‘action level’ of 15 parts per billion