The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently rolled out new regulations for its existing Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) policy. These updates require public water systems to complete an inventory of all water service lines within their jurisdiction by October 2024 to help identify remaining lead service lines. This information will be useful to public water systems as they begin to plan for long-term replacements of those lines. It is important for public water systems to understand all the requirements that fall under this newly updated policy, which include public outreach, engagement, and education, as well as how to properly conduct and track a service line inventory. JEO offers guidance to public water systems and cities through the “Helping Communities Get the Lead Out Toolkit."
LCR and Latest Updates
The LCR was first passed in 1991, but there have been multiple revisions to the policy since its passing. The latest updates came in January 2021 and became effective starting December 2021.
In the newest version of the law, public water systems are required to develop (and maintain) a Lead Service Line (LSL) inventory. This information will be used to help develop a future replacement plan for all known LSLs. For now, however, water systems only need to focus on developing the inventory and recording all known LSLs in their service area.
Another notable update to the law requires public water systems to conduct public outreach, helping educate their service area on the initiative and the dangers of LSLs. The new LCR states that the inventory must be available to the public and accessible online for all communities with populations greater than 50,000. In some cases, property owners will have to assist their public water system by conducting an on-site inspection of their water line to determine its material type. Therefore, public engagement and education around the LCR and LSLs is a key component for developing the community inventory.
Schools and childcare centers are required to conduct on-site inspections of their water service lines to determine the material type, just as with residential and commercial properties. Other provisions laid out in the latest update to the LCR regarding schools and childcare centers include:
- Public water systems are required to test a limited number of drinking water outlets in 20 percent of elementary schools and childcare centers over a five-year period.
- 5 outlets in each school
- 2 outlets in each childcare center
- Elementary schools and childcare centers can decline to be tested.
- Secondary schools can request testing but aren’t required to.
More information for public water systems about developing a replacement plan is anticipated to come later this year in the form of the Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI). For now, federal and state agencies recommend communities only focus on developing and maintaining the inventory.
JEO offers communities a robust list of services that help make tackling the LCR a breeze. With the support of our technical and assistance teams, we offer a wide range of tools that meet the specific needs of your public water system, staff, and community.
The following services are included in the “JEO Helping Communities Get the Lead Out Toolkit”. Download these free, generic materials and use them in your community, or contact our team about creating material branded specifically for your city.
- Public Education and Outreach Support - Use any of our pre-made public outreach materials to inform your community about the LCRR and their role in helping to complete the water service line inventory.
- Strategy development and implementation
- Informational material development
- Outreach templates
- Training for your staff
- GIS Support - Let our GIS team help you accurately and efficiently record and store inventory data that can be easily accessed online and as a map.
- Self-reporting tool development
- Inventory management
- Inventory Coordination Support - Allow us to make managing the LCRR program in your community easy with administrative and technical support including inventory management, record-keeping, inspection support, and other on-call services.
- Lead and Copper Rule & Revisions Overview: A comprehensive review of the most recent action taken to improve and expand upon existing LCR policy.
- EPA Lead and Copper Rule Implementation Tools: The EPA has curated a list of resources to help states and water utility departments to implement the LCR.
- EPA 3T’s for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Toolkit: EPA’s 3Ts – Training, Testing, and Taking Action – Information and recommendations to prepare schools, child care facilities, and states to build a voluntary implementation program to reduce lead levels in drinking water.
To learn more about this toolkit or how JEO can assist your community, contact our team.
For more information about the LCRR or this JEO service, please reach out to our "JEO Helping Communities Get the Lead Out" project team at GettheLeadOut@jeo.com.