Managing Lead in Drinking Water


AWWA members protect consumers against lead in drinking water. The Association continues to prepare helpful communications, technical and public policy resources. Selected resources are available from this single hub. Here you will find insights on corrosion control and other lead management issues, the latest legislative and regulatory developments, and public outreach tools to help you speak with consumers and other key stakeholders. Both resources prepared by AWWA's members and others such as the USEPA are available.

Related Resources:

Inorganic Contaminants

The New Lead and Copper Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised Lead and Copper Rule, making significant changes to the existing rule in January 2021.  In March 2021extended the effective date of the rule to June 17, 2021, and solicited public comment on extending the both the effective date farther and extending the compliance date for the revised rule. EPA is currently reviewing the rule requirements as required by Executive Order 13990.

Communicating about Lead

Frequent and transparent communication is key to keeping our communities safe from lead in pipes and plumbing. A package of lead communication resources from AWWA can help utilities communicate with confidence by providing adaptable outreach documents, samples from colleagues across North America and off-the-shelf AWWA tools.

Access Lead Communication Resources

Scope of Lead Service Line Issue

In 2016, two AWWA-sponsored surveys of US community water systems (CWSs) were conducted to gather information on lead‐containing service lines (LSLs) in different regions of the United States for different sizes (population ranges) of water systems. The major objective of this research was to estimate the number of water systems with LSLs and the approximate number of LSLs nationwide and by region. 

The survey results indicated 

  • a national estimate of 6.1 million LSLs (either full or partial) currently present in CWSs of the United States, 
  • approximately 11,200 CWSs currently have LSLs 
  • 15 to 22 million people served by CWSs are estimated to have either a full or partial LSL serving their home out of a total population served by CWSs of about 293 million (7%); and approximately 30% of the CWSs surveyed (national average) reported having some LSLs in their system.

Essential Resources

Virtual Summit - Lead & Water Quality

Lead and Copper Rule requirements prompt continued action from the water sector to reduce lead exposure through drinking water. This AWWA Virtual Summit provides a holistic perspective on lead reduction actions and impacts through engaging presentation of the most relevant technical content and total water solutions.

The technical program will focus on:

  • Lead Service Line Identification and Replacement
  • Corrosion Control Practices
  • Water Quality Management
  • Customer Communications
  • Financial and Legal Challenges

AWWA Policy Statements

AWWA's policy statements are brief statements on protecting and improving water supply, water quality, management, and the interests of the public and the environment. They are written by consensus, subject to review and comment by AWWA committees, councils, and members. Because they represent AWWA's position on these matters, they are approved by the AWWA Executive Committee of the board of directors.

  • Managing Lead in Drinking Water
  • Lead service lines are a large potential source of lead in drinking water. The Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative provides an introduction to building a community-based approach to lead service replacement. Replacing lead service lines completely will require a shared effort with customers, local government leaders, and numerous other local agencies.

AWWA members are recognized globally for their industry expertise and their generosity in sharing that expertise for a better world through better water. AWWA members participate in committee activities, developing conference programs, writing technical manuals, developing standards, creating educational content and contributing to AWWA publications. Committee members primarily interact through conference calls, emails, and face to face meetings at conferences and events. More information on volunteering for an AWWA committee.

The following committees are active in addressing lead issues:


Didn't find what you are looking for? Please contact us at research@awwa.org