Lead and Copper Rule

In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Lead and Copper Rule to minimize lead and copper in drinking water. The rule replaced the previous standard of 50 ppb, measured at the entry point to the distribution system. The rule established a maximum contaminant level goal of zero for lead in drinking water and an action level (AL) of 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for lead and 1.3 mg/L for copper based on 90th percentile level of tap water samples. An action level exceedance is not a violation but triggers other requirements to minimize exposure to lead and copper in drinking water that include water quality parameter monitoring, corrosion control treatment, source water monitoring/treatment, public education, and lead service line replacement. Lead and Copper Rule requirements apply to all Community and Non Transient Non Community Public Water Systems.

In 2000, EPA published revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule to address implementation problems and issues arising from legal challenges to the 1991 rule. The revisions also streamlined and reduced monitoring and reporting burdens. In 2004, EPA published minor corrections to the Lead and Copper Rule to reinstate text that was inadvertently dropped from the rule during previous revisions. EPA then published proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule in 2006.

In October 2007, the EPA finalized seven targeted regulatory changes to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for lead and copper. This final rule strengthens the implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule in the following areas: monitoring, treatment processes, public education, customer awareness, and lead service line replacement. These changes provide more effective protection of public health by reducing exposure to lead in drinking water.

Click here for a list of Public Water Systems currently not in compliance with the lead action level.

The following documents and links are provided to help water system owners and operators understand their Lead and Copper Rule responsibilities:   


Consumer Notice Requirements

All systems shall provide a notice of the individual tap results from lead tap water monitoring to the occupants of the residence/location where the tap was tested. The notice must be delivered to consumers within 30 days of the sample results being received from the laboratory even if the results did not exceed the action level for lead. The following templates may be used to satisfy the Consumer Notification Requirements:

No later than three months following the end of the monitoring period, systems shall mail a completed and signed Certification of Consumer Notification of Lead Tap Water Sampling with a sample copy of the Consumer Notice of tap results to the Department.

Lead Public Education

Community (CWS) and Non-Transient Non-Community Public Water Systems (NTNC) that exceed the lead action level based on tap water samples are required to deliver lead public education materials to customers within sixty (60) days after the end of the monitoring period in which the exceedance occurs. The following documents have been developed to assist public water systems in developing public education materials that meet the content and delivery requirements:

No later than nine (9) days after the end of the period in which the exceedance occurs, systems shall submit a completed and signed Certification of Lead Public Education Content and Delivery and a copy of the Lead Education Materials delivered to the Department.

Once a PWS exceeds the lead action level, there is a series of steps required to be conducted by the water system, which is monitored and enforced by DPH.  Some of the steps include providing public education to the system’s consumers, proposal of a corrosion control plan and follow up testing for lead at a monitoring frequency of every six month (Jan 1st to June 30th and July 1st to Dec 31st of each year).   DPH will update the above list at the end of each monitoring period.  For more information or the latest lead test results, please contact the public water system directly.

For more information on the Lead and Copper Rule, please refer to the flowchart