Regulations are created to protect the health and welfare of the public. The United States EPA develops the regulations at a federal level and each state’s EPA has the ability to make regulations pertaining to their state. The criteria for a state’s individual regulation are that it must be at least as strict as the federal regulation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the general requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule (with attention on the lead aspect) mandated to protect drinking water on the federal and state level.
The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was created June 7, 1991 and is found in 40 CFR 141 (USEPA, 2011). This section discuses the monitoring measures to test for the presence of lead, public notification requirements, and the action level (AL) established by the LCR. The section concludes with requirements that must be met if the AL is exceeded: water quality parameter monitoring, public education, corrosion control treatment, source water monitoring and /or treatment, and the replacement of lead service lines.
Monitoring is required for all community water systems (CWS) and non-transient non-community water systems (NTNCWSs). The USEPA (2011) establishes monitoring sites at homes and businesses that are at high risk of lead contamination as determined in 40 CFR 141.86(a). Water systems are required to monitor the sites every six months.
Two public notification clauses exist in the LCR. First is the Lead Consumer Notice, according to 40 CFR 141.86(g), lead testing results must be sent to consumers of the water supply within 30 days regardless of whether the AL was exceeded. Second is the Consumer Confidence Report, 40 CFR 141.154 states that all CWSs must offer educational material about lead in drinking water to consumers regardless of lead levels detected in the water supply (USEPA, 2011).
The AL (concentration) of lead in a specific water sample is 0.015 mg/L (USEPA, 2011). The USEAP (2011) based the AL on the 90th percentile of samples of tap water tested; the 90th percentile is found by taking the number of samples and multiplying them by .9, for instance, 10 samples x .9 = 9, thus the 9th highest reading should be compared to the AL. If the AL was not exceeded, then no action is taken. Exceeding the AL is not a regulatory violation but it does begin the actions discussed in the following sections.
Water Quality Parameter Monitoring (WQP)
Systems exceeding the AL must test for pH, alkalinity, calcium, conductivity, orthophosphate, silica, and temperature to set parameters for water quality. WQP monitoring...