Lead and Copper Rule Revisions
It is important to note that the information contained in this website is based on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) published on January 15, 2021, and may change. This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available.
On December 16, 2021, the EPA announced that the current Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR, originally published on January 15, 2021, at Federal Register, 86 FR 4198) will go into effect to support development of actions to reduce lead in drinking water. The organization directed states and systems to prioritize developing lead service line inventories which will need to be submitted by the compliance date October 16, 2024. The EPA will announce details of the Lead and Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI) before the October 16th compliance date, which will entail changes to the following rule aspects:
- Lead Service Line Replacement Plans
- Compliance Tap Sampling Protocols
- Action and Trigger Levels
- Prioritizing Historically Underserved Communities
The EPA may also incorporate changes related to funding, collaboration with schools and childcare facilities, and communication and guidance with the LCRI. Depending on the nature of the LCRI changes, later compliance dates for certain changes may be announced in accordance with the changes. MDH will update systems with information on the LCRI once changes are confirmed.
MDH and the Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) have hosted a webinar on December 20th discussing the EPA’s update, and a recording of the webinar can be found at Final Revised Lead and Copper Rule Overview - 1 (Video). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published final revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule in January 2021.
Some of the major changes include:
- Using science-based testing protocols to find more sources of lead in drinking water
- Establishing a trigger level of 10 parts per billion to address lead service line replacements further
- Adding more and complete lead service line (LSL) replacements.
- Requiring testing in schools and childcare facilities served by community water systems
- Requiring PWSs to identify and make public the locations of LSLs
EPA’s final revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule page contains links to more information, including summaries, comparisons of the current and new rules, and infographics.
You can read the full text of the new rule at National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR).
You can view a summary of the new rule and MDH activities related to lead at Addressing Lead in Drinking Water (PDF).
On this page:
- Questions and Answers (December 20th Webinar 1)
- General Questions and Answers about the LCRR
- Community Water System (CWS) Questions and Answers
- Noncommunity Water System (NWS) Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers (December 20th Webinar 1)
Is the funding for Lead Service Replacements coming from the federal or state level?
The funding will be from the federal level but will be coming through Minnesota's Drinking Water Revolving Fund. Corey will be providing information about the Drinking Water Revolving Fund at the end of the webinar. For specific questions about the LSL Funding, contact Corey Mathisen at email@example.com.
Who, at schools, are responsible for testing under state statute?
Each school is responsible for designating staff to do sampling. This is usually a facility maintenance staff person, or sometimes schools will contract with an Environmental Health consultant.
Also, does each school district have a protocol set up with a public water system?
There is no specific requirement for schools to work with their public water system on school sampling under the state statute although it is recommended that schools reach out to their water system for information on incoming water quality, sharing results, and creating consistent messaging about lead in drinking water.
Schools must follow a Model Plan for testing. The model plan is intended for use by all public school districts and charter schools in Minnesota. The model plan is required for public schools and charter schools per legislation but also appropriate for other types of buildings such as, other types of schools, businesses, child care facilities, etc.
Who determines compliance if the results are not provided in schools to MDH?
If MDH finds out a school has not tested by the deadlines in statute, then MDH will follow up with the school and MDE to provide education about the statute.
Does the age of the school building make a difference in required testing? For example, we have a new school building (5 years old) in our community.
No, the age of the building does not change the testing requirements. Both old age school and new school are required to test.
The age of the school will impact the plumbing materials. The state rule does not allow testing to be opted out for new buildings. Even modern low-lead plumbing materials can leach lead depending on the building water quality/water use patterns.
Will cities be responsible for school and day care testing after 2024?
After 2024, there will be shared responsibility for testing and education. Currently, only public schools are required to test under state statute. CPWS will require the federal LCRR to offer testing to schools on top of the existing state requirements schools must meet. Schools and child care programs will still have free testing through the state from the WIIN grant. MDH will work with EPA to evaluate if they may waive some portions of the school testing for systems due to our existing state programs; however, we will have to wait until we have more information from EPA on what will be allowed to be waived.
What resources are there for schools and child cares to test. What resources are there for education on drinking water for school staff and educators?
Check out resources for schools and child cares at Drinking Water in Schools and Child Cares.
Resources for staff and educators can be found at Resources and Training for Educators.
(All water topics not lead focused)
What is the definition of child care used by the LCRR/WIIN grant?
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) definition of child care facility is a location that houses a licensed provider of child care, daycare, or early learning services to children, as determined by the state, local, or tribal licensing agency.
- Licensed Child Care Programs (both public and private) (no limit on the number of children served)
- Local Education Agency such as public or charter schools.
- a Local Education Agency (as defined in section 8101 of Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [20 USC7801])
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General Questions and Answers about the LCRR
What is the compliance date for the revised rule?
The compliance date for the revised rule is October 16, 2024.
Please be aware that all of the current Lead and Copper Rule requirements remain in place. You will need to keep following these until the new provisions go into effect.
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Community Water System (CWS) Questions and Answers
How should my CWS start preparing for the revised rule?
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends CWSs begin preparing by:
- Watching for regular MDH email updates
- Putting a temporary hold on developing complete LSL inventories until notified by MDH (EPA technical guidance is likely to be released by May 2021)
- Watching for upcoming MDH meetings with those systems that are likely to exceed the trigger level
- Gathering contact information on schools and childcare facilities you serve
When is MDH going to provide detailed guidance on the LCRR and on LSL inventories?
MDH plans to use technical guidance from EPA and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA). We do not have a complete schedule for when these guidance documents will be published.
Once technical guidance is available, MDH will provide more information on the LSL inventories, including what data must be provided and how it will be submitted. We also anticipate providing technical assistance to systems before they begin their LSL inventory, including technical guidance, best practices, and lessons learned. We will be providing a template that allows CWSs to insert the required information shortly after the technical guidance is published. CWSs will then have at least 18 to create their inventories and submit them to the state by October 16, 2024.
Sampling and Analysis
What changes are being made to lead sample collection procedures?
In addition to the current first liter samples collected for lead and copper sampling at sites with LSLs, the revised rule includes a fifth-liter sample. This second sample will help better measure the lead level in the water resting in the LSL. Samples from non-LSL sites must continue to be first-draw one-liter samples. MDH will finalize the instructions for collecting fifth-liter samples following technical guidance produced by the EPA and ASDWA.
Will Chain of Custody forms (COCs) and bottles still be provided by MDH prior to the required sampling?
We are expecting that MDH will continue to provide COCs and sample materials to CWSs.
What laboratories will CWSs use for lead sample analysis?
Compliance samples currently go to Pace Labs for analysis. We will update CWSs if any changes occur.
CWSs can conduct their own follow-up for investigative sampling and use any accredited lab for analysis. Any first draw one-liter sample results need to be reported to MDH, even if you do the sampling on your own.
Sampling in Schools and Childcare Facilities
How are CWSs required to work with schools for lead sampling under the new revisions?
MDH is working with EPA on how the LCRR requirements overlap with Minnesota Statute, 121A.335 Lead in School Drinking Water. Public and charter schools are required to test lead in drinking water since 2018. Testing results must be available to the public.
MDH is planning to provide guidance documents and notification templates that CWSs will use to communicate and ensure required sampling is completed at schools and childcares. EPA has not yet published its technical guidance for states.
A new Lead in drinking water testing program is available to schools and child care providers. This grand-funded program is part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) from the EPA. The program provides sample kits for lead testing free of charge. MDH is collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to get the word out to schools and child care providers. More information about the testing program and to see if your school or childcare program is eligible, can be found at Minnesota Lead Testing in Schools and Child Cares in Drinking Water.
Public Notification and Education
What public education will be required for residences served by LSLs?
CWSs will be required to:
- Notify residents about the presence of LSLs within 30 days of completing the LSL inventory and annually afterward
- Use sites with LSLs for compliance samples (if the system has LSL)
- Follow up with all sample results from homes served by lead service lines during LSL replacement.
- Conduct follow-up sampling and education before and after LSL removal
- Find and fix sources of lead when there are individual site results above the action limit
- The CWS must fix any system issues by taking actions like adjusting water quality parameters or improving flushing to an area, removing LSL, etc., if those are determined to be the cause of the elevated result
- If there is a household issue, like a brass fixture or solder, the CWS must identify the likely cause, but the homeowner is responsible for fixing the issue
The requirement for education materials (and possibly sampling and filters) for residents that have had disturbances such as shut-offs – when does this come into effect? Is the date for this also October 16, 2024?
Yes, systems must begin providing customers with notifications and educational materials for these disturbances on September 16, 2024.
Lead Service Line Inventories
What do I need to do for the LSL inventory and when does it need to be completed?
CWSs will need to identify all service line materials as lead, galvanized iron, non-lead, or unknown service line. Unknown service lines will be treated as LSLs and will need to be replaced or identified in the future.
Goosenecks, pigtails, and service line connectors will not be required in the inventory. If a CWS has a record of any lead connectors on record, it is recommended the CWS add it to the inventory. CWSs will also be required to replace any lead connectors they encounter while removing and replacing LSLs.
The inventory must be completed and submitted to the state by October 16, 2024. CWSs will need to make the inventory information publicly accessible.
How can residents identify LSLs?
As a resident, if you want to know how lead might be affecting your water, you can contact your water system and/or try using the method below to determine if you may have a lead service line.
Once my CWS has a LSL inventory, do I have to sample all sites with LSLs? Or will the number of sample points still be the same for my CWS?
The number of sample points will remain the same, in that a system’s number of required samples will still depend on the system’s monitoring schedule, sample results, and system size in terms of population. Systems will need to redefine their lead and copper sample site list to prioritize homes that are served by lead service lines.
There is a new requirement that a CWS must notify customers being served by a LSL within 30 days of completion of the LSL inventory. What defines completion of the inventory? Is notification due within 30 days after we identify a LSL?
We are waiting for EPA’s technical guidance for more information about the notification requirements related to the LSL inventory.
Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement
What is the new LSL replacement plan requirement?
If a CWS identifies any LSLs in their inventory, they need to develop a LSL replacement plan. Replacement plans must be completed and submitted to the state by October 16, 2024.
The replacement plan should have a LSL replacement prioritization strategy based on factors including, but not limited to, the targeting of known LSLs and LSL replacement for disadvantaged consumers and populations most sensitive to the effects of lead.
The plan should also include a recommended goal-based replacement in case your system ever exceeds the trigger level.
When is the LSL replacement plan activated?
- If a CWS exceeds the trigger or action level s, they will need to implement the LSL replacement plan they submitted to the state with their inventory.
- If results are above the trigger level but below the action level: The CWS must remove implement goal-based replacement (removing LSLs at the annual replacement rate they agree upon with MDH).
- If results are above the action level: The CWS must replace at least 3% of LSLs annually (based on a rolling average of two years). See additional information below.
The replacement programs continue until the CWS has recorded a 90th percentile at or below the trigger/action level for two years (four consecutive rounds of six-month lead and copper monitoring).
What does the 3% minimum annual replacement rate mean and do I have to meet it exactly?
The 3% minimum annual replacement rate is activated after a CWS exceeds the action level. In the next two years, the CWS must average replacing 3% of their LSLs each year. All replacement must be full replacements (no partial replacements) to count toward the replacement rate.
In theory, a system could replace 2% in year one and 4% in year two and achieve the required 3% average annual replacement rate.
Aside from the required LSL removal program, am I required to replace LSLs under any other circumstances?
CWSs are required to replace any LSL under their jurisdiction within 45 days if a customer/resident replaces their portion of the LSL and notifies the CWS.
What if a customer/resident is unable or unwilling to replace their portion of a LSL to meet a full replacement?
Partial replacements could be permitted for these situations. The CWS will need to document the customer response and update its LSL inventory.
For any LSL replacement, CWSs are required to provide education to the customer regarding the risks and flushing after the work is complete, provide filters, and conduct follow up lead sampling.
Will there be funding available for LSL replacement?
Funding is available to cities to pass on to their residents to replace LSLs on private property. The funds are in the form of a principal forgiveness grant to the city for up to 50 percent of the project cost. Grants are only awarded if the entire LSL is replaced. The grant cap is currently $250,000. The remaining balance of the private LSL replacement or replacement of the publicly-owned portion can be covered by a below-market-rate loan through the Drinking Water Revolving Fund(DWRF). DWRF applications are accepted annually and need to be submitted to MDH by the first Friday in May.
You must apply to be listed on the DWRF Project Priority List to be eligible. Funding is not directly available to individual residents through this program.
Corrosion Control Treatment
Does MDH have any guidance on the corrosion control treatment requirements for CWSs that serve populations over 50,000?
The revised rule requires large CWSs to conduct a corrosion control study or re-optimize corrosion control upon exceeding the trigger or action level. Systems with LSLs will be required to conduct pipe loop studies using harvested lead pipe. To prepare for the revised rule, large systems can:
- Review existing treatment and practices to identify ways to reduce lead.
- Contact MDH before making treatment changes
- Review historic LC results and distribution residuals to assess risk of exceeding an action or trigger level.
MDH has reached out to discuss corrosion control treatment requirements for large systems that do not yet have corrosion control. One good resource is EPA’s Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Evaluation Technical Recommendations.
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Noncommunity Water System (NWS) Questions and Answers
Do the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions apply to NWSs?
Since these are modifications to the current Lead and Copper Rule, the revisions do apply to nontransient NWSs. However, some of the revisions, such as those regarding lead service lines, are likely to be less impactful for noncommunity systems than for community systems. Neither the current nor the revised rule applies to transient NWSs.
How should my nontransient NWSs start preparing for the revised rule?
You are encouraged to become familiar with the rule revisions, as described above. MDH staff will also keep you informed as further guidance becomes available from US EPA and as we develop MDH’s plans for implementing the revisions. In the meantime, please be aware that all the current rule requirements remain in place, so you will need to keep following these until the new provisions go into effect.
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