EPA Releases Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements

On December 6, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft rule proposing improvements to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper.

EPA would require water systems to replace lead service lines within 10 years, remove the lead trigger level, reduce the lead action level to 0.010 mg/L, and strengthen tap sampling procedures. The proposed rule also addresses the following areas: corrosion control treatment, public education and consumer awareness, requirements for small systems, and sampling in schools and child-care facilities. Additionally, EPA aims to address the potential disproportionate impacts of lead in drinking water in communities through proposed lead service line replacement and public education.

The proposed rule will impact small entities, including small governments and water systems. EPA prepared an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) that examines the proposed rule’s impact on small entities along with regulatory alternatives that could minimize the impact. EPA also convened a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel to obtain advice and recommendations from small entity representatives (SERs) that would be subject to the rule’s requirements.

EPA will hold an informational webinar on the proposal on December 6, 2023, at 2:00 PM ET. Register for the webinar.

The Office of Advocacy will be hosting an Environmental Roundtable to discuss EPA’s proposal on January 9, 2024, at 2:00 PM ET. Register for the Roundtable.

EPA will also hold a virtual public hearing on January 16, 2024, from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM ET. Register for the public hearing.

Comments on the Proposed Lead and Copper Improvements Rule are due February 5, 2024.