Lead and Copper Rule Revisions
Webpage updated March 18, 2021
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 16, 2021, and may change. This webpage will be updated as more information becomes available.
Please note the LCRR effective date for the final rule may change in the near future, so we recommend community water systems (CWSs) delay significant actions to meet the new rule until a final version of the rule and EPA technical guidance is available. If the rule is revised, EPA intends to provide additional time for implementation to compensate for the delay.
On March 12, 2021, EPA published two notices that impact the effective and compliance dates for the LCRR. The first notice, Delay of Effective Date (PDF), delays the effective date of the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (PDF) from March 16, 2021 to June 17, 2021. This notice does not change the rule provisions or the compliance date of January 16, 2024. This delay in the effective date is consistent with Presidential directives issued on January 20, 2021 in Modernizing Regulatory Review that direct the heads of Federal agencies to review certain regulations issued towards the end of the last Administration, including the LCRR. There is no public comment requested and this delay goes into effect as of March 12th.
The second notice, Delay of Effective and Compliance Dates (PDF), proposes to further delay the effective date of the LCRR until December 16, 2021 and proposes to delay the compliance date from January 16, 2024 to September 16, 2024. EPA is asking for public comments on this proposal, which must be submitted by April 12, 2021. If the effective date is delayed until December, EPA intends to conduct stakeholder outreach throughout the review period to gain additional public input on the LCRR and potential changes to the rule, particularly from communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. If EPA decides it is appropriate to propose revisions to the rule, it will consider whether to further extend compliance dates for those specific obligations. EPA intends to issue a final decision on this proposal prior to the June 17, 2021 effective date.
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 further address lead service line replacements
- 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).
- General Questions and Answers about the LCRR
- Community Water System (CWS) Questions and Answers
- Noncommunity Water System (NWS) Questions and Answers
What is the compliance date for the revised rule?
The compliance date for the revised rule is September 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.
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 organizations such as 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 needs to be provided and how it will be submitted. We also anticipate being able to provide 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 no later than July 2022. This will provide at least 18 months for CWSs to create their inventories and submit them to the state by September 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 will help get a better measure of the lead level in the water resting in the LSL. Samples from non-LSL sites must continue to be first-draw one-liter samples. The instructions for collecting fifth liter samples will be finalized by MDH 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. We will identify items that can be coordinated between the two regulations to make compliance as simple as possible for schools, childcare facilities, and CWSs.
MDH is planning to provide guidance documents and notification templates that CWSs will be able to use to communicate and ensure required sampling is completed at schools and childcares. EPA has not yet published their technical guidance for states.
We will add additional details here as we learn more from EPA, so please check back for more information.
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 September 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 September 16, 2024. CWSs will need to make the inventory information publicly accessible.
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 September 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 for replacement of 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. 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).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.
For large systems that do not yet have corrosion control, MDH will reach out to discuss corrosion control treatment requirements. One good resource is EPA’s Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Evaluation Technical Recommendations.
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.