The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first Lead and Copper Rule Revisions Listening Session on April 28 to obtain input on additional perspectives that may be considered in a further revision to the rule.
Residential household water well systems are not affected by the rule.
Speakers from across the country provided their interests and concerns. Key points raised by participants included the following.
- Lead is highly harmful to children even at low levels and effects on older children should be taken into account in future standards.
- Testing for lead in tap water is highly variable, particularly for locations, number, and timing sampled.
- The current process that focuses on recurring testing is not facilitating resolution.
- All lead service lines (LSLs) — on both public and private property — should be removed, including lead elbows and solder.
- Testing in schools and childcare facilities is minimal and gives a false sense of security.
- No LSL inventories will be 100 percent accurate, but statistical best practices applied to water service lines of unknown material can make identification more efficient — and the LSL removal and replacement process should continue beyond initial replacement to address lines identified later.
- LSL replacement should be conducted in a manner that protects low-income and disadvantaged residents.
- Corrosion control should also address lead from brass fittings.
- Utilities should conduct thorough studies of the LSL in their communities before initiating replacement and make the results widely available.
- Sampling protocol for lead in tap water should be simplified and the number of sites for larger water systems should be increased to address the variability in lead test results.
- Point-of-use filter pitcher use limit of 90 days in an LSL program is too short to ensure that water consumers are adequately protected while LSL replacement is occurring.
- Infiltration of lead-contaminated water into leaky water pipes during flooding and high-water tables is a concern for communities over Superfund sites with lead contamination.
The EPA will hold another LCRR listening session from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on May 5.