Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule “an important step forward.” The revisions were announced Oct. 10 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The proposed rule represents the first major overhaul of federal protections for lead in drinking water in two decades. The rule would require community water systems to take new actions regarding lead service line replacement, corrosion control, sampling and testing for lead in schools and daycare centers.
PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole attended the invitation-only event, representing the plumbing manufacturing industry, where he had the opportunity to speak with key EPA officials.
“The long-term Lead and Copper Rule proposal represents an important step forward in addressing lead risks and our aging water infrastructure,” said Stackpole following the announcement.
Stackpole also stated in an EPA news release that: “Plumbing Manufacturers International supports the efforts of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise the Lead and Copper Rule to deal with aging water infrastructure and strong protections to reduce lead contamination, including replacement of lead service lines. Plumbing manufacturers continue to be committed to efforts to reduce lead and look forward to reviewing the proposed rule.”
Key portions of the proposed rule include requiring:
- Water systems to update a public inventory of where lead service lines are located;
- Utilities to replace the utility-owned portion of a lead service line when a customer replaces the customer-owned portion;
- Strengthened corrosion control treatment at a new “trigger level” of 10 parts per billion (ppb). This trigger level would enable systems to react more quickly should they exceed the 15 ppb action level in the future. Systems above 10 ppb but below 15 ppb would be required to set an annual goal for conducting replacements and conduct outreach to encourage resident participation in replacement programs.
- Public notification within 24 hours if a system exceeds the action level; and
- Utilities to test for lead in schools and childcare facilities.
The proposal would not change the current "action level" of 15 ppb — the level at which drinking water utilities must begin replacing lead service lines. EPA is providing a 60-day comment period on the proposal and plans to finalize the new rule in 2020. PMI will be reviewing the proposed rule thoroughly.