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Eight Things Local Leaders Need to Know About EPA’s Proposed Lead and Copper Rule Improvements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule establishing National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper: Improvements (LCRI) on Nov. 30, 2023, building on the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions finalized in 2021.

According to the National League of Cities (NLC), as established by the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, all community water systems and non-transient non-community water systems (such as schools) are required to provide an initial inventory of lead service lines to states by Oct. 16, 2024. This deadline is not changed with the proposed LCRI; however, under the LCRI, communities would have to develop an updated baseline inventory by the compliance date. Additionally, the LCRI would require communities to update their inventory annually, use a validation process to ensure the inventory is accurate, and identify all service lines of unknown materials by the replacement deadline.

Many communities are making progress toward completing the inventory. Federal funding and financing are available through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, including under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provided $15 billion specifically for lead pipe inventories and replacement activities.

EPA developed an inventory template for local governments, which provides instructions for the kind of information that needs to be collected in the inventory.

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