Lead Communications

Frequent and transparent communication is key to keeping communities informed and safe from lead in pipes and plumbing. AWWA provides resources to help utilities communicate with customers about lead while managing regulatory requirements, including those in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead & Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) and the proposed Lead & Copper Rule Improvements (LCRI).

Learn more from our Lead Communications Guide and Toolkit, which includes customizable outreach templates and water sector communication examples addressing the LCRR. View video interviews with water utility experts from Halifax WaterCity of Newark and Green Bay Water, as well as a strategic communicator from HDR. Download a customizable messaging tool and a series of articles about complying with the LCRR from AWWA’s member newsletter, Connections.

EPA established the Lead and Copper Rule in 1991 to reduce exposure to lead and copper in water. These contaminants primarily enter drinking water through corrosion of service lines, fixtures, or plumbing. EPA has revised this rule multiple times since 1991.

The LCRR was published Jan. 15, 2021, with an implementation date of October 2024. The proposed LCRI was published Dec. 6, 2023. It maintains some of the LCRR requirements that go into effect in October 2024 and includes additional improvements for later implementation. Some of the topics addressed in the rules include:

  • Lead service line inventories
  • Annual lead service line notification requirement
  • Lead service line replacement plan
  • Trigger levels, sampling, action level exceedances and water disturbances
  • Public health effects language
  • Outreach to state and local health agencies
  • Updated information in Consumer Confidence Reports
  • Testing at schools and childcare facilities

Animated whiteboard aids consumer understanding

AWWA's animated whiteboard explainer helps consumers understand how to protect their households from the risk of lead in drinking water. The three-minute animation advises consumers to work with a plumber to identify sources of lead and whenever possible, to "get the lead out." Some older homes have lead service lines or plumbing fixtures, fittings and solder that contain lead.