| U.S. EPA extends LCR effective date, but preparations should continue
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U.S. EPA extends LCR effective date, but preparations should continue

U.S. water utilities should start preparing for a host of new requirements in the revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even though the effective date has been extended by three months to June 17, 2021. 

Utility crew replacing lead service lineThe EPA announced March 10 that it plans to seek further public input on the LCR, particularly from communities most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. The sweeping revision of the LCR was published Jan. 15, 2021, prior to the U.S. Presidential Inauguration and the transfer of administrations from former President Trump to current President Biden.

Today, EPA is announcing two Federal Register notices regarding the LCR: 

  • A final rule extending the revised LCR effective date from March 16 until June 17.
  • A second action, a proposed rule, soliciting comments on extending the effective date an additional six months until Dec. 16, 2021, and extending the current compliance date by nine months to Sept. 16, 2024.  

EPA must publish a final rule to extend the compliance date.

When EPA announced the LCR overhaul last December, AWWA president Melissa Elliott stated, “AWWA renews its commitment to the removal of all lead service lines in their entirety. The first step in accomplishing that task is the development of lead inventories in every community, and we enthusiastically support the inclusion of that requirement in the final rule.”

One key reason for water systems to begin preparing now, is the requirement that water systems establish an inventory of lead service lines (LSL) in their service areas, including the portion owned by customers, as a step toward ensuring their complete replacement. 

Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative logoThe Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative, of which AWWA is a member, provides information for utilities and other stakeholders developing LSL removal programs. The Collaborative includes representatives from stakeholders that share the common goal of LSL replacement, including utilities, community health and housing organizations, state agencies and advocacy groups.   

To help organizations tackling lead service line removal, the Collaborative has developed a website page featuring successful, real-life case examples from around the country. To share additional examples or ideas of how organizations are tackling specific LSL replacement challenges, please contact the Collaborative.

A new poll released March 11 by Black Millennials for Flint, BlueGreen Alliance and Environmental Defense Fund reveals U.S. voters strongly support funding the replacement of lead pipes in water systems across the country. 

The national poll found that four in five voters (80%) support funding replacement of lead pipes, including 75% of Republican voters, 77% of Independent voters and 84% of Democratic voters. 

More information is available on AWWA’s Lead resource page.