Lead and Copper Rule
Overview of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)
Publication and Revision Dates
Subchapter K in Chapter 109 published December 24, 1994, revised with minor revisions on August 10, 2002 and with short-term revisions on December 18, 2010.
Chapter 109 Sections
- §109.1101 Scope
- §109.1102 Action levels and treatment technique requirements
- §109.1103 Monitoring requirements
- §109.1104 Public education and notification
- §109.1105 Permit requirements
- §109.1106 Design standards
- §109.1107 System management responsibilities
- §109.1108 Fees
Protect public health by minimizing lead (Pb) and copper (Cu) levels in drinking water, primarily by reducing water corrosivity. Pb and Cu enter drinking water mainly from corrosion of Pb and Cu containing plumbing materials.
Establishes an action level (AL) of 0.015 mg/L for lead and 1.3 mg/L for copper based on the 90th percentile level of tap water samples. An AL exceedance is not a violation but can trigger other requirements that include water quality parameter (WQP) monitoring, corrosion control treatment (CCT), source water monitoring/treatment, public education (PE) and lead service line replacement (LSLR).
All community water systems (CWSs) and nontransient noncommunity water systems (NTNCWSs) are subject to the LCR requirements.
Treatment Technique Requirements
Corrosion Control Treatment (CCT) Applicability
- All large systems
- Small and medium systems that exceed either action level (AL); may stop CCT steps if both ALs are met during 2 consecutive 6-month monitoring periods prior to approval to construct CCT facilities; but, must resume CCT if subsequently exceed either AL.
CCT Compliance Schedule
All activities begin from the end of the monitoring period in which the AL was exceeded:
- Submit a CCT feasibility study (PDF) within 18 months.
- Submit a permit application within 30 months.
- Initiate construction or modification of CCT facilities within 48 months.
- Complete construction or modification of CCT within 60 months.
CCT Requirements for Optimal CCT for Large Water Systems (PDF)
Large water systems that change water sources are still obligated to maintain Optimal CCT.
2016 EPA OCCT Manual
The Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Evaluation Technical Recommendations document provides technical recommendations that water systems can use to comply with Lead and Copper Rule corrosion control treatment requirements and effective evaluation and designation of optimal corrosion control treatment (OCCT). Additionally, this document also provides Excel-based OCCT Evaluation templates that can be used to organize data and document decisions.
Lead Public Education (PE)
Community water systems and nontransient noncommunity water systems that exceed the lead action level in their 90th percentile value are required to deliver lead PE materials.
- System must submit copes of PE materials to DEP prior to delivery.
- CWSs: deliver materials to bill-paying customers and post lead information on water bills, work in concert with local health agencies to reach "at-risk" populations (children, pregnant women), deliver to other organizations serving "at-risk" populations, provide press releases, include new outreach activities from §109.1104(a)(2)(i)(H), and post PE materials to website if system serves > 100,000 people.
- NTNCWSs: Posting and distribution to all customers (can be electronic).
- Within 60 days after the end of the monitoring period in which Pb AL was exceeded if not already delivering PE.
- Repeat annual except: quarterly water bill inserts, press releases twice a year and continuous web posting.
- Discontinue whenever Pb AL is met; but, must resume PE program if subsequent Pb AL is exceeded.
Microbial and Disinfection Byproduct Rules Simultaneous Compliance Guidance Manual (PDF)
This manual describes many of the potential conflicts that may arise as systems comply with the rules currently being developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), known collectively as the Microbial and Disinfection Byproduct (M-DBP) cluster of rules.
Chapter 4 "SIMULTANEOUS COMPLIANCE ISSUES BETWEEN THE STAGE 1 DBPR, THE IESWTR, AND LEAD AND COPPER RULE" within this manual identifies conflicts between the Stage 1 DBPR, IESWTR, and the LCR can occur when the chemical stability of drinking water is affected. Lead and copper are released into drinking water by corrosion, specific chemical measures such as pH and alkalinity adjustment and the addition of corrosion inhibitors are employed. Certain actions that may be necessary for PWSs to comply with the Stage 1 DBPR, such as enhanced coagulation, can upset the established operating chemistry in a system by lowering the pH. Similarly, certain actions that may be necessary for PWSs to comply with the IESWTR, such as removing additional turbidity, can be affected by the addition of chemicals that inhibit corrosion.
This chapter briefly discusses the LCR and presents several potential conflicts between the Stage 1 DBPR, the IESWTR, and the LCR. It includes discussion of the following topics:
- pH impacts
- Turbidity issues
- Microbial re-growth issues
- Enhanced coagulation issues
- Disinfection strategy issues
Regulations and Guidance
Subchapter K of Chapter 109
- This subchapter establishes treatment technique requirements that include requirements for corrosion control treatment, lead service line replacement and public education. These requirements are triggered, in some cases, by samples collected at consumers' taps which exceed a lead or copper action level.
- This subchapter applies to community water systems and nontransient noncommunity water systems. For purposes of this subchapter, the systems are classified as either large, medium or small, based on the population served by the system. A large water system serves more than 50,000 persons. A medium water system serves more than 3,300 and fewer than or equal to 50,000 persons. A small water system serves 3,300 or fewer persons.
- A community or nontransient noncommunity water system which is a consecutive water system shall comply with this subchapter regardless of the compliance status of any public water system from which finished water is obtained. Each interconnection with a public water system from which finished water is obtained is considered source water for the receiving public water system and is subject to the monitoring, corrosion control treatment and source water treatment requirements under this subchapter.
DEP has created a Lead and Copper Rule Short-term Revisions (LCRSTR) (PDF) summary document that describes each revision and includes the Chapter 109 page number of the online Chapter 109 version (PDF). These revisions were published in the PA Bulletin on December 18, 2010 and are now incorporated into Chapter 109.