EPA Strengthens Lead in Drinking Water Rule

On Tuesday, September 25, EPA issued a final rule that will improve requirements in the areas of monitoring, customer awareness and lead service line replacement. Specifically, the agency will require water suppliers to provide consumers with information to help them make decisions about how to limit their exposure to lead in drinking water.

“This action will help get the lead out and keep it out of our drinking water,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. “The public must have confidence in the safety of their tap water, which is, ounce-for-ounce, one of America’s greatest and most affordable assets. EPA’s targeted improvements will clarify requirements for utilities, and provide more timely and useful information for the public.”

The final rule is one outcome of EPA’s March 2005 Drinking Water Lead Reduction Plan which arose from EPA’s analysis of the current regulation and state and local implementation. Since release of the plan, the agency has released guidance to help public water systems better understand the potential impacts of treatment changes on their ability to control lead and asked the National Drinking Water Advisory Council to provide recommendations on public education requirements. The agency has also provided new or updated guidance and tools to help schools and child care facilities to monitor for lead in drinking water. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around homes. Even at low levels, lead may cause a range of health effects including behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Children six years old and under are most at risk because this is when the brain is developing. The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint in older homes. Lead in drinking water can add to that exposure.

Copy of the rule and more information on lead in drinking water: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lcrmr/index.html

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