The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) has been in effect since 1991. The rule requires communities to not only test for the presence of lead in the water distribution system but also to implement a treatment technique to serve as a barrier against its occurrence.
Lead was a common material used in the water industry, both in conveyance to homes and household plumbing fixtures. In 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act Lead Ban prohibited the use of lead in any material used to provide water for human consumption. By 1988, construction and plumbing materials were considered “lead-free.” However, the rule didn’t require the replacement of what was already installed but instead implemented a rigorous testing and barrier approach.
A testing schedule began with sampling in two consecutive 6-month periods. If there were no exceedances over the Action Level of 15 parts per million, then monitoring was to be reduced to annual sampling for the next two consecutive years. No exceedances during this period would result in monitoring one time every three years.
Henderson Water Utility has a corrosion control program which creates a barrier against lead occurrence. The monitoring we have conducted over many 3-year periods has never exceeded action levels.
Then Flint, MI happened. You can read about that here. It changed everything, for every municipality.
EPA promulgated the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) in December 2021 which intends to address what the 1986 Lead Ban did not – the identification, removal, and replacement of lead lines that were already installed.
HWU is busy visually identifying the material of every service line in our distribution system. Once this is completed, we will ramp up our testing of specific areas and implement a replacement plan of existing pipe that is in the ground. For the last 20 years, it has been our practice that where lead piping is found, it has been replaced. We do not believe that there is an abundance of lead piping in our system.
The safety and quality of your drinking water is our primary concern – it’s why HWU exists. We will do everything it takes to not only meet, but exceed, regulatory compliance. There will be stricter parameters placed on the testing we do, but according to what we have seen so far, we have historically not had a problem meeting them.