EPA outlines new requirements for lead outreach

A new strategic plan released by the U.S. EPA outlines the process for EPA, primacy agencies and drinking water utilities to “provide targeted outreach, education, technical assistance and risk communication to populations affected by lead in drinking water.”

The new requirements are in accordance with the December 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which added the new provisions to Section 1414(c)(5) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The strategic plan includes background on the new requirements under the WIIN Act, a workflow diagram outlining requirements for the parties involved, and sample forms and templates that can be used to implement the new provisions.

The new requirements are applicable to data received by EPA independent of normal compliance monitoring conducted under the Lead and Copper Rule. When EPA receives independent lead monitoring data in exceedance of the 15 ppb action level for an individual household, it is required to evaluate the results, including verification of whether sampling was performed in accordance with acceptable methods, and notify the water system of the results.

Public water systems are then required to notify the affected household(s) within a timeframe specified by EPA, and provide information on potential adverse health effects of lead in drinking water, actions being taken by the system to reduce lead levels and information on possibly seeking an alternative water source.

In general, notifications will be required within two business days for 10 or fewer households and five business days for 11 or more households, but circumstances may warrant different timeframes. If notification is not made within the prescribed timeframe, EPA will then consult with the state’s governor to develop an appropriate plan of action to ensure notification occurs.

Additional information on the new SDWA requirements under the WIIN Act can be found at EPA’s Strategic Plan for Targeted Outreach to Populations Affected by Lead webpage.

Some information contained in this news appeared in the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies’ (AMWA) Monday Morning Briefing.

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