In recent years, there has been a greater focus in communities across the country on “lead in drinking water.” It’s important to share that lead does not naturally occur in treated drinking water. As YOUR community’s water provider, CCWA is at the forefront of public health and committed to providing safe drinking water that meets all state and federal requirements. This information is reported annually in our Water Quality Report, including any findings of lead.
In late 2021, the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued its final Lead and Copper Rule revisions (LCRR). The rule regulates how water utilities monitor for sources of lead in treated water and how to respond if a sample exceeds established action levels. Some of the new requirements include:
- Developing a lead service line (LSL) inventory
- Updating tap water sampling locations and sample collection procedures
- Developing sampling plans for schools and childcare facilities
- Following new requirements for full- and partial-lead service line replacement plans
- Supporting additional planning, monitoring, and treatment requirements
- Meeting stricter public education and communication requirements
EPA has an October 2024 compliance date to meet the LCRR, and our efforts are already underway. We know you have questions and have listed a few here to help build your knowledge and awareness.
Where does lead come from?
Lead is a natural element that has spread into the environment through past use in products, such as paint, leaded gasoline, hunting/fish gear, ceramics, batteries, and even cosmetics. Current uses include some commercial and industrial processes. Lead exposure affects the body’s systems and internal organs and is most impactful to young children and pregnant women. Thanks to stricter federal and state regulatory standards the amount of lead in air, drinking water, soil, consumer products, food, and occupational settings has been greatly reduced. Because lead can persist in the environment, raising awareness in the community on how to reduce exposure is a key component of promoting public health.
How can lead get into water?
Lead does not naturally occur in treated drinking water. Lead pipes and/or fittings on service lines to homes and businesses and even interior plumbing (also known as premise plumbing) are potential sources. Lead can leach into drinking water when plumbing pipes and fixtures containing lead corrode. The lead can dissolve or flake into the water that flows from our faucets. Letting water run for 30-60 seconds before using it can help flush any lead particles that may be present. It’s also important to only use cold water for washing vegetables, cooking, and making ice as hot water may pull in sediment from the hot water heater.
What is CCWA doing now?
We are leading the way and have already been hard at work since early 2022 to meet the new requirements. Some of the steps we have taken include:
- Created a new Compliance Analyst position in Water Production
- Compiling the LSL inventory
- Developing a plan on where to focus additional testing efforts
- Initiating public information on LCRR
We will continue to share information and updates with you as we work directly with residents, schools, and other partners in the community.
We’re also pleased to share that our monitoring requirements are actually less than some utilities because any findings of lead at our sampling sites have been well below current action levels for the past two decades.
Learn more about lead in the environment
American Water Works Association