On September 26, 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule that makes several targeted regulatory revisions to the existing National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) for lead and copper. The purpose of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) is to protect public water system consumers from exposure to lead and copper in drinking water. The revisions to the LCR are intended to enhance the implementation of the LCR in the areas of monitoring, treatment, customer awareness, lead service line replacement; and to improve compliance with the public education requirements of the LCR. The changes are also intended to ensure drinking water consumers receive meaningful, timely, and useful information to help them limit their exposure to lead in drinking water.
The following is a summary of the revisions and their impact on public water systems (PWS) in Massachusetts.
Lead and Copper Action Levels
- A PWS that has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to collect fewer than 5 samples shall use the sample result with the highest concentration as the 90th percentile value, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(1)(c)3.e.
- A PWS that takes samples from unapproved sample sites that are submitted with lead and copper results must include the results in the computation of the 90th percentile, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(1)(c)3.e.
Lead Service Line Replacement Requirements
- A PWS must reconsider previously "tested-out" lines when resuming lead service line replacement programs. This provision only applies to systems that had initiated a lead service line replacement program; complied with the lead action level for two consecutive monitoring periods and discontinued the lead service line replacement program; and, subsequently was re-triggered into lead service line replacement. All previously "tested-out" lines must be tested again or added back into the sampling pool and considered for replacement, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(5)(b)2.
- A PWS shall adhere to an established time-frame in which the remaining number of lead service lines shall be replaced, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(5)(b)2.
Additional Resources for Lead Service Line Replacement Requirements
- Public water systems on triennially monitoring must collect lead and copper samples between June and September unless otherwise approved in writing by MassDEP. Example: if you last collected lead and copper samples on June 30, 2006 you must collect samples between June 1 and September 30, 2009, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(9)(d)1.a.
- A PWS shall not remain on a reduced monitoring schedule if the water system is above the lead action level.
- A PWS must collect all samples in accordance with its approved sampling plan.
- A PWS must take all samples within the same calendar year, as indicated in the modified definition for monitoring and compliance periods.
- The Regulation includes language to clarify the number of samples required and the number of sites from which samples should be collected.
Supplemental Monitoring Requirements
- A PWS that exceeds the lead and/or copper action level must sample the tap of any customer that requests it, yet the PWS is not required to pay for collecting or analyzing the sample, nor does the PWS have to collect or analyze the sample itself, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(6).
Consumer Confidence Report
All community PWS must provide information in their CCR on lead in drinking water regardless of whether the system detected lead in any of its samples. The following short informational statement will help to ensure that all vulnerable populations or their caregivers receive information on how to reduce their risk to lead in drinking water. A PWS may modify the educational statement, but only if approved in writing by the MassDEP. This language must be inserted in the next round of CCRs (due June 30, 2010) , as per 310 CMR 22.16A(12)(a)1.
"If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. [INSERT THE NAME OF YOUR UTILITY] is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule."
Content of Written Public Education Materials
- A PWS must deliver educational material to additional organizations that in turn disseminate the message to at-risk populations.
- A PWS must include educational statements about lead in drinking water in all CCRs.
- The amended LCR regulation changes the content of the public education materials to be provided to consumers, changes how the materials are delivered to consumers, and changes the timeframe in which materials must be delivered.
Additional Resources for Public Education
A PWS must provide the tap water monitoring results for lead and copper to owners/occupants of homes, and schools or childcare facilities that are part of the PWS's monitoring program (including those who do not receive water bills). These results will help occupants determine what actions they can take to reduce their exposure to lead in drinking water.
The following actions are required even if the PWS does not exceed the action level for lead:
- A PWS is required to provide the notification to the consumer within 30 days of when the system receives the results.
- A PWS shall include an explanation of the health effects of lead, steps consumers can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water, contact information for the PWS, the maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) and the action level for lead, with the definitions for these two terms.
- A PWS must send the consumer notices by mail or other MassDEP approved methods (e.g., NTNC systems can post the results on a bulletin board in the tested facility).
- A PWS must submit a copy of the notification and a certification that the system met the delivery requirements to MassDEP within 90 days from the end of the monitoring period.
- A PWS shall provide a consumer notice of lead and copper tap water monitoring results to the persons served at the sites (taps) that are tested.
- A PWS must notify MassDEP of short term changes in corrosion control treatment practices within 24 hours. Changes in treatment practices that continue for a period greater than 7 days will constitute a treatment technique violation and will trigger a Tier II public notification requirement, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(2)(b)3.c.
- A PWS must complete and submit to MassDEP a Certification of Consumer Notice of Lead Tap Water Monitoring Results after the PWS's 2010 (or subsequent years) sample results have been distributed to the customers that participated in the monitoring program, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(6) and 310 CMR 22.06B(11)(f)3.
Applicability of Corrosion Control Treatment Steps
- A PWS must provide advanced notification and gain the approval of MassDEP for intended changes in treatment or source water that could increase corrosion of lead, as per 310 CMR 22.06B(11)(a)3.b.
Additional Changes that Affect Public Water Systems
Lead Content in Plumbing Fixtures
MassDEP Regulation 310 CMR 22.04(8) states that drinking water system components must be compliant with the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF) most recent standard NSF/ANSI 61 which now includes Annex G (Weighed Average Lead Content Evaluation Procedure to a 0.25% Lead Requirement). NOTE: PWSs should make note of these changes when they purchase meters, water saving devices, and other fixtures that are then offered to consumers or used in municipally owned buildings. For more information refer to the NSF website.