Lead and Copper Rule

The purpose of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) is to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water, primarily by reducing corrosivitiy. Lead and copper enter drinking water mainly from corrosion of lead and copper containing plumbing materials.  The rule establishes an action level (AL) of 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for lead and 1.3 mg/L for copper based on 90th percentile level of tap water samples.  An action level exceedance is not a violation but triggers other requirements to minimize exposure to lead and copper in drinking water, that include water quality parameter monitoring, corrosion control treatment, source water monitoring/treatment, public education, and lead service line replacement.  All community water supplies and nontransient noncommunity water supplies are subject to the LCR requirements.

For more information on the Lead and Copper Rule, including the final rules and the Quick Reference Guide visit the Web site of the U.S. EPA at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/lcr/index.cfm.

Helpful Tools: 

  • The Reporting Forms Web page has links to the Lead and Copper Report and Customer Notice of Lead Result Certificate. 
  • Sampling Instructions in Word and in Adobe Acrobat.  Samples are collected by the resident after the water has sat undisturbed for at least six hours.  This is usually first thing in the morning or after returning from work.  Water supplies need to provide very clear instructions to residents so samples are taken correctly.  Supplies may use these instructions.
  • Flow Chart of monitoring requirements for medium and small water supplies. DEQ district staff can provide further details about this very complex drinking water regulation.
  • The Lead and Copper Rule Implementation policy ODWMA-399-027.

Latest Changes in the LCR requirements: 

Consumer Notice of Lead Result:  Supplies must provide individual lead results to people who receive water from sites that were sampled, even if lead was not detected.

  • Within 30 days of knowing lead results, provide notification of results to the persons served by the tap that was sampled.
  • Content must include results of lead, health effects, steps to reduce exposure, to lead, contact information for the water utility, definitions and levels of MCLG and AL.
  • Deliver to persons served by the tap that was sampled, including those that do not receive a water bill.  Deliver by mail or another method approved by the DEQ (e.g. NTNC may post on bulletin board).
  • Within 3 months of the end of the monitoring period, mail sample notification along with certification that notification was distributed as required.

A template of the Consumer Notice of Lead Results and sample certification of delivery is included with the Lead and Copper Report and Customer Notice of Lead Result Certificate and can be accessed from the Reporting Forms page in Word and in Adobe Acrobat.

Consumer Confidence Report (CCR):  All CCRs must include the following statement about lead, even if lead was not detected:  "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. [NAME OF 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/safewater/lead."

Public Education:  The message is shorter and provides more flexibility.  The delivery requirements and other public education activities are expanded to reach more persons served.  Public education only applies to supplies that exceed the lead action level in more than 10 percent of samples taken.  Contact the DEQ district staff for a convenient checklist of the required public education activities, including delivery, a template of the public education notice and a sample certificate of completion.

Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement:  A supply must reconsider previously "replaced through testing" lines when resuming lead service line replacement programs when the supply:

  • Initiates LSL replacement
  • Discontinues LSL replacement after compliance with lead AL for 2 consecutive rounds
  • Re-triggers into LSL replacement

The previously "replaced through testing" lines shall be tested again or replaced.  A supply shall update its inventory of LSL to include "replaced through testing" lines, then divide the updated number by the number of years remaining in the program to determine the number of LSL to be replaced per year.  If the 15 year period has already expired, the DEQ will determine a replacement schedule after a supply re-exceeds the AL.