[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 240 (Friday, December 17, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 71574-71582]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27457]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 141

[EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255; FRL-5423.1-04-OW]
RIN 2040-AG15


Review of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation: Lead 
and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notification of conclusion of review.

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SUMMARY: On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) published the agency's decision to delay the effective and 
compliance dates of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: 
Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), published on January 15, 2021, 
to allow time for EPA to review the rule in accordance with 
Presidential directives issued on January 20, 2021, to the heads of 
Federal agencies to review certain regulations, and conduct important 
consultations with affected parties. EPA has completed its review. The 
agency's review included a series of virtual public engagements to hear 
directly from a diverse set of stakeholders. This document describes 
the comments conveyed by stakeholders, EPA's decision to proceed with a 
proposed rule that would revise certain key sections of the LCRR while 
allowing the rule to take effect, and other non-regulatory actions that 
EPA and other Federal agencies can take to reduce exposure to lead in 
drinking water.

DATES: The effective date of the LCRR published on June 16, 2021, in 
the Federal Register (86 FR 31939), continues to be December 16, 2021, 
and the compliance date continues to be October 16, 2024. Primacy 
revision applications are due on December 18 2023. See SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for further information.

ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255. All documents in the docket are listed on the 
http://www.regulations.gov website. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., confidential business 
information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by 
statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not 
placed on the internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy 
form. Publicly available docket materials are available electronically 
through http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey Kempic, Standards and Risk 
Management Division, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Mail Code 
4607M, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-4880 (TTY 800-
877-8339); email address: [email protected]. For more information 
visit https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    EPA's lead drinking water rules are a critical part of reducing the 
lead exposure for consumers of tap water in the United States. Lead 
poses serious health risks to both children and adults. Because lead in 
drinking water primarily results from leaching of lead from plumbing in 
homes and from lead service lines (lead pipes connecting homes to the 
water distribution system), and portions of lead service lines may be 
owned by the water system or homeowner, the drinking water rules 
intended to reduce the amount of lead in tap water have been complex 
and controversial. The latest version of those rules, the Lead and 
Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), published in January 2021, is no 
exception.
    In compliance with the Biden Administration executive order to 
review rules issued in the past Administration, EPA undertook an 
extensive review of the LCRR and delayed the effective and compliance 
dates in the rule during the review period. To get comprehensive input, 
EPA talked with states, tribes, water utilities, as well as people who 
have been underrepresented in past rule-making efforts. EPA sought 
input from communities disproportionately impacted by lead in drinking 
water, especially lower-income people and communities of color, to 
learn from their experiences. The broad range of thoughtful input EPA 
received provided valuable insights on ways to improve the LCRR, and 
more generally, other available tools to address lead in drinking 
water.
    Based upon EPA's evaluation and stakeholder feedback, the agency 
has concluded that EPA actions to protect the public from lead in 
drinking water should consider the following policy objectives: 
Replacing 100 percent of lead service lines (LSLs) is an urgently 
needed action to protect all Americans from the most significant source 
of lead in drinking water systems; equitably improving public health 
protection for those who cannot afford to replace the customer-owned 
portions of their LSLs; improving the methods to identify and trigger 
action in communities that are most at risk of elevated drinking water 
lead levels; and exploring ways to reduce the complexity of the 
regulations.
    To achieve these policy objectives, EPA intends to take the 
following regulatory and non-regulatory actions: First, EPA intends to 
propose for public comment a new rule to revise the LCRR to advance the 
goals described above while balancing stakeholder interests and 
incorporating required economic, environmental justice, and other 
analyses. A regulatory framework that addresses these considerations, 
combined with the other actions described in this document, has the 
potential to permanently eliminate the most significant source of lead 
contamination, better target other actions to reduce lead exposure 
where the highest risks are presented, and provide equitable 
protections to all Americans. At the same time, because the LCRR 
provides additional protections relative to the pre-existing rule and 
contains components (such as the LSL inventory) that supports any 
future rule, EPA is not further extending the effective date of the 
LCRR. Therefore, as explained herein, compliance with certain key 
provisions of the LCRR will not be delayed while the rulemaking is 
underway.

[[Page 71575]]

    Because regulatory actions alone may not be adequate to achieve 
these policy objectives, this document also discusses important non-
regulatory actions EPA intends to take, including programs to provide 
technical assistance and infrastructure funding.

I. Why EPA Reviewed the LCRR

Executive Order 13390 on Protecting Public Health

    On January 15, 2021, EPA published the ``National Primary Drinking 
Water Regulation: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions'' in the Federal 
Register (86 FR 4198) (LCRR). On January 20, 2021, President Biden 
issued the ``Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the 
Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.'' (86 
FR 7037, January 25, 2021) (Executive Order 13990). Section 1 of 
Executive Order 13990 states that it is ``the policy of the 
Administration to listen to the science, to improve public health and 
protect our environment, to ensure access to clean air and water . . . 
, and to prioritize both environmental justice and the creation of the 
well-paying union jobs necessary to deliver on these goals.'' Executive 
Order 13990 directs the heads of all Federal agencies to immediately 
review regulations that may be inconsistent with, or present obstacles 
to, the policy it establishes. On June 16, 2021, EPA published the 
National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule 
Revisions; Delay of Effective and Compliance Dates (86 FR 31939), which 
delayed the LCRR effective date until December 16, 2021, and the 
compliance date until October 16, 2024. During EPA's review, while the 
LCRR was delayed, EPA engaged with stakeholders to better understand 
their thoughts and concerns about the LCRR.

Stakeholder Concerns

    EPA heard significant concerns from many drinking water 
stakeholders about the LCRR. These concerns included whether the rule 
will adequately protect public health, the confusion it might create 
about drinking water safety, and the implementation burden that will be 
placed on systems and states. Stakeholders also expressed concerns that 
EPA did not provide adequate opportunities for a public hearing in the 
development of the LCRR that was published on January 15, 2021 (86 FR 
4198), and did not provide a complete or reliable evaluation of the 
costs and benefits of the proposed LCRR. The delay in the effective 
date of the LCRR enabled the Agency to engage meaningfully with the 
public regarding this important public health regulation before it took 
effect.

Lead Exposure Health Risks

    Lead exposure is a critical public health issue. Its adverse 
effects on children and the general population are serious and well 
known. Lead has acute and chronic impacts on the body. Lead exposure 
causes damage to the brain and kidneys and may interfere with the 
production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the 
body.\1\ The most susceptible life-stages are the developing fetus, 
infants, and young children. The Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention (CDC) states that ``no safe blood lead level in children has 
been identified.'' \2\ Because they are growing, children's bodies 
absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems 
are more sensitive to its damaging effects. As a result, even low-level 
lead exposure is of particular concern to children.
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    \1\ CDC. 2020. ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, 
GA.
    \2\ CDC. 2018. Lead. Atlanta, GA. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm.
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    The association between lead and adverse cardiovascular effects, 
renal effects, reproductive effects, immunological effects, 
neurological effects, and cancer has been documented in the EPA 2013 
Integrated Science Assessment for Lead,\3\ the U.S. Department of 
Health and Human Services (HHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) 
Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level Lead,\4\ and the Agency for 
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) 2020 Toxicological 
Profile for Lead.\5\ EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) 
Chemical Assessment Summary provides additional health effects 
information on lead.
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    \3\ USEPA. 2013. Integrated Science Assessment for Lead. Office 
of Research and Development. (EPA/600/R-10/075F). Research Triangle 
Park, NC.
    \4\ HHS. 2012. NTP Monograph on Health Effects of Low-Level 
Lead. Durham, NC.
    \5\ CDC. 2020. ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, 
GA.
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Disproportionate Exposure to Lead

    The environmental justice analysis for the final LCRR found that 
minority and low-income populations appear to be disproportionately 
exposed to the risks of lead in drinking water delivered by community 
water systems.\6\ LSLs are typically the primary source of lead in 
drinking water,\7\ meaning their presence is likely a driver of this 
disproportionate exposure given that these populations tend to live in 
older housing where LSLs are more likely to have been installed. 
Because of disparities in the quality of housing, community economic 
status, and access to medical care, lower-income people are also 
disproportionately affected by lead from other media. For example, 
children of color and children in low-income communities are more 
likely to live in proximity to lead-emitting industries and to live in 
urban areas, which are more likely to have contaminated soils, 
contributing to their overall exposure (Leech et al., 2016 \8\). 
Additionally, non-Hispanic black people are more than twice as likely 
as non-Hispanic whites to live in moderately or severely substandard 
housing, which is more likely to present risks from deteriorating lead-
based paint (Leech et al., 2016; White et al., 2016).\9\ The disparate 
exposure to all sources of environmental lead experienced by low-income 
people and communities of color may be exacerbated because of their 
more limited resources for remediating LSLs, which can be a significant 
source of lead exposure. In addition, a higher incidence of rental 
housing in these communities creates an additional barrier to lead 
service line replacement (LSLR) where the property owner does not 
consent to full replacement.
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    \6\ See Chapter 8, section 8.11, of the USEPA Economic Analysis 
for the Final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, December 2020.
    \7\ AwwaRF (now the Water Research Foundation). 2008. 
Contribution of Service Line and Plumbing Fixtures to Lead and 
Copper Rule Compliance Issues. 978-1-60573-031-7.
    \8\ Leech, T.G., E.A. Adams, T.D. Weathers, L.K. Staten, and 
G.M. Filippelli. 2016. Inequitable chronic lead exposure. Family & 
Community Health 39(3):151-159.
    \9\ White, B.M., H.S. Bonilha, and C. Ellis. 2016. Racial/ethnic 
differences in childhood blood lead levels among children <72 months 
of age in the United States: A systematic review of the literature. 
Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 3(1):145-153.
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    EPA reviewed the LCRR in light of the serious stakeholder concerns 
about it; the adverse health effects of lead; and the potential 
environmental justice issues associated with lead exposure. For a more 
detailed explanation of the decision to review the LCRR, see ``National 
Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions; 
Delay of Effective and Compliance Dates'' (86 FR 31939) (June 16, 
2021); ``National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Lead and Copper 
Rule Revisions; Delay of Effective and Compliance Dates'' (86 FR 14063) 
(March 12, 2021); and ``National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: 
Lead and Copper Rule Revisions; Delay of Effective Date'' (86 FR 14003) 
(March 12, 2021).

[[Page 71576]]

II. E.O. 13990 Review Process

EPA's Process for Engagement

    EPA hosted a series of virtual engagements from April to August 
2021 to obtain public input on the review of the LCRR. EPA also opened 
a docket, from April 5, 2021 to July 30, 2021, to accept written 
comments, suggestions, and data from the public. Summaries of these 
engagements, including summaries of the meetings and written comments, 
can be found in the docket, EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0255 at https://www.regulations.gov/. Recordings of the public listening sessions and 
community, tribal, and national stakeholder association roundtables can 
also be found in the docket. The virtual engagement meetings included 
two public listening sessions, ten community roundtables, a tribal 
roundtable, a national stakeholder association roundtable, a national 
co-regulator meeting, and a meeting with organizations representing 
elected officials. A diverse group of individuals and associations 
provided feedback through these meetings and the docket, including 
people from communities impacted by lead in drinking water, local 
governments, water utilities, tribal communities, public health 
organizations, environmental groups, environmental justice 
organizations, and co-regulators.
    EPA specifically sought engagement with communities that have been 
disproportionately impacted by lead in drinking water, especially 
lower-income people and communities of color that have been 
underrepresented in past rule-making efforts. EPA hosted roundtables 
with individuals and organizations from Pittsburgh, PA; Newark, NJ; 
Malden, MA; Washington, DC; Newburgh, NY; Benton Harbor and Highland 
Park, MI; Flint and Detroit, MI; Memphis, TN; Chicago, IL; and 
Milwaukee, WI. These geographically-focused roundtables included a 
range of participants including local government entities, community 
organizations, environmental groups, local public water utilities, and 
public officials. EPA worked with community representatives to develop 
meeting agendas that reflected community priorities. Each community 
roundtable included a presentation by local community members. EPA held 
a separate roundtable with representatives from tribes and tribal 
communities. Participants in all roundtables were invited to share 
diverse perspectives with the agency through verbal discussion and a 
chat feature. EPA obtained detailed, valuable feedback from these 
engagements, which often focused on the lived experiences of people 
impacted by lead in drinking water.

Public Comments Received by EPA

    Many commenters, in their statements at virtual engagements and in 
their written materials provided to the docket, expressed concern that 
the LCRR would not provide equitable public health protections and 
would be difficult to implement. Commenters also provided many 
suggestions beyond the LCRR to reduce drinking water lead exposure.
    While commenters provided feedback on all aspects of the LCRR, most 
comments focused on LSLR, the action level (AL) and trigger level (TL), 
tap sampling, public education, and sampling for lead in schools and 
child-care facilities. Each of these topics are discussed in more 
detail below.
    Lead Service Line Replacement: Nearly all commenters expressed 
support for the goal of full replacement of all the nation's lead 
service lines. Many commenters raised concerns regarding LSLR and the 
financial and public health burdens placed on communities. Some 
participants noted the frequent split ownership of LSLs between water 
systems and property owners and that the LCRR does not prohibit partial 
replacements in which the private LSL remains in place if a customer is 
unwilling or unable to replace the private-side LSL. Partial 
replacements can cause elevated lead levels due to the physical 
disturbance associated with the practice as well as the potential for 
galvanic corrosion with the new portion of the service line. Frequent 
suggestions included: A regulatory requirement for water systems to 
proactively replace all LSLs over a defined time period (e.g., 10-15 
years) regardless of drinking water lead levels, a ban on all or 
certain partial replacements, and increased financial support for LSLR 
coordinated across Federal agencies. One participant also suggested the 
use of opportunity zone funds to provide tax incentives for 
replacement. Some commenters did not support a complete ban on partial 
LSLR, stating that there are some situations where they are necessary 
and that risk mitigation steps can reduce lead levels associated with 
partial replacements while maintaining water service for drinking, 
basic sanitation, and fire suppression purposes. Many commenters 
expressed that individual homeowners should not be asked to pay for the 
replacement of any part of an LSL. Many commenters also expressed the 
need for equitable distribution of funding for LSLR, noting that low-
income people and communities of color are disproportionately served by 
LSLs and lack the resources to replace them. Commenters expressed the 
need for state and federal assistance, cautioning that funding LSLR by 
rate revenue could disproportionately affect low-income households 
given potential impacts on water rates. Some commenters also discussed 
potential barriers to private-side replacement, including local or 
state ordinances that may limit water system access to private 
property, restrictions on using rate revenue for such projects, or the 
possibility that customers may decline replacement even when available 
at no cost to them. Many commenters also observed that renters lack the 
ability to compel the replacement of the portions of LSLs that are 
owned by their landlords. Additionally, a few commenters cautioned that 
only conducting LSLR in conjunction with existing planned 
infrastructure projects may result in LSLs remaining in communities 
that have experienced historic disinvestment, particularly communities 
of color. Several commenters also expressed support for strengthening 
the LSL inventory requirements, including setting a deadline for 
identifying service line material and including lead connectors in the 
definition of a LSL for purposes of the inventory.
    Action Level (AL): Most commenters expressed concern that the LCRR 
did not lower the lead AL. Some requested that EPA reconsider setting a 
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for lead at 5 parts per billion (ppb) 
and that the agency reduce the AL (e.g., 10, 5, or 1 ppb) if an MCL is 
not set. These commenters stated that the MCL or AL should be lowered 
to compel more systems to take actions to reduce drinking water lead 
exposure. Several commenters suggested removing the TL and reducing the 
AL to 10 ppb, noting that the use of two regulatory values would create 
confusion and be onerous to implement. These commenters noted that 
adding a TL that compels similar but different actions for LSLR, 
corrosion control, and public education creates confusion regarding 
which actions systems must take. Some commenters noted that the TL and 
AL also create confusion regarding health risks since neither is a 
health-based number. Some commenters discussed high childhood blood 
lead levels in their communities, noting that health impacts occur at 
levels much lower than the AL. Others did not support reducing the AL 
from 15 ppb, citing feasibility and the burden on water systems.

[[Page 71577]]

    Tap Sampling: Many commenters expressed support for requiring first 
and fifth liter samples in homes served by LSLs and using the samples 
with the highest levels of lead in 90th percentile calculations. 
Commenters emphasized the need to prioritize the most at-risk 
populations in tap sample site selection. Several commenters 
recommended allowing water systems to maintain existing compliance tap 
sampling schedules.
    Public Education Materials: A common recommendation was that the 
LCRR should require accessible public education materials and outreach 
to residents about lead risk. EPA was urged to ensure that public 
education information is provided in multiple languages and appropriate 
for people with different reading levels. Many commenters also called 
for more proactive communication about lead in drinking water and for 
clarity in general communications from water systems regarding the 
potential for lead in drinking water. Multiple commenters emphasized 
the need for public education targeted specifically towards renters. 
Commenters suggested that regulators and water systems should partner 
with local trusted messengers and organizations to conduct community 
outreach. There were also many commenters who expressed concerns with 
the number of public education and notification requirements. Some 
recommended streamlining the requirements and reducing certifications 
to primacy agencies.
    Water Testing in Schools and Child-Care Facilities: Some commenters 
identified the inherent shortcomings of the LCRR's schools and child-
care lead testing requirement given the statutory limitations of the 
Safe Drinking Water Act. Commenters recommended that more coordination 
between the water system and relevant entities, such as child-care 
facilities and state or local licensing entities, could improve 
outcomes. Many commenters recommended expansion of the requirements for 
water system-conducted lead testing in schools and child-care 
facilities. These recommendations included requiring sampling all 
elementary and secondary schools, more frequent sampling at more taps, 
making results public, and requiring remediation measures or 
installation of filters. Other commenters expressed concern regarding 
the ability of schools and child-care facilities to address lead issues 
given the potential associated financial, technical, and staff burdens. 
Some commenters also requested that EPA allow previous school and 
child-care sampling efforts to count towards the LCRR requirement while 
a few others stated that water systems should not be responsible for 
sampling in schools and child-care facilities.
    Additional Comments: EPA also received comments on other areas of 
the LCRR, including corrosion control treatment (CCT) related 
requirements, ``find-and-fix'' (see below), and small system 
flexibility. On CCT, commenters requested:
     More flexibility in CCT requirements;
     Additional oversight of CCT decisions;
     Additional water quality parameter (WQP) monitoring; and
     More frequent monitoring after source or treatment 
changes.
    Multiple commenters expressed support for the intention of find-
and-fix provisions, which require water systems to follow up with 
customers where tap sampling was conducted to identify the cause of a 
lead sample exceeding 15 ppb. Some commenters raised potential 
implementation challenges for find-and-fix requirements including cases 
of repeat exceedances and customer inability or unwillingness to 
address lead in premise plumbing. Commenters supported limiting the 
flexibility provided by the small system options. Many commenters also 
requested timely guidance on a range of rule topics, including LSL 
inventory development, tap sampling site selection, CCT, and find-and-
fix.
    Most commenters requested that EPA revise the LCRR, citing 
inadequate health protection. However, some commenters urged EPA to 
implement the LCRR as finalized, and requested that if the agency makes 
further revisions that it suspend compliance dates, citing regulatory 
uncertainty.

III. Outcome of LCRR Review

    Based upon EPA's evaluation and stakeholder feedback, EPA has 
determined that there is a range of potential regulatory and non-
regulatory actions the agency can take to further reduce drinking water 
lead exposure.
    EPA finds that although the LCRR improves public health protection 
in comparison to the previous version of the rule, there are 
significant opportunities to further improve upon it to achieve 
increased protection of communities from lead exposure through drinking 
water. Specifically, after hearing from stakeholders, including during 
the engagements that took place over the last nine months, the agency 
has concluded that regulations and other non-regulatory actions to 
protect the public, from lead in drinking water, should consider: The 
urgent need to replace LSLs as quickly as possible to protect all 
Americans from the most significant source of drinking water lead,; 
equitably improving public health protection for those who cannot 
afford to replace the customer-owned portions of their LSLs; and 
improving the methods to identify and trigger action in communities 
that are most at risk of elevated drinking water lead levels. A 
framework including regulatory and nonregulatory actions to address 
these considerations has the potential to permanently eliminate the 
most significant sources of drinking water lead contamination, better 
target other actions to reduce lead exposure to where the highest risks 
are presented, and provide equitable protections to all Americans. 
Accordingly, EPA intends to propose for public comment a rulemaking to 
revise the LCRR as part of its overall strategy to advance these policy 
goals while balancing stakeholder interests, and incorporating required 
economic, environmental justice, and other analyses, and to take other 
steps towards these goals. And, as with any rulemaking, EPA will 
maintain an open mind and looks forward to receiving comments on its 
proposed new rule. Each of these considerations is discussed more fully 
below.
    First, our review impressed upon the agency the urgency of fully 
removing all lead service lines using any and all regulatory and non-
regulatory tools available to EPA and its federal partners. Leaving 
millions of LSLs in place would result in generations of Americans 
being at risk of significant lead exposure through their drinking 
water. Where present, LSLs are the most significant source of drinking 
water lead exposure.\10\ These LSLs present a risk of sustained lead 
exposure through drinking water, which presents a risk of damage to the 
brains of children and the kidneys and other critical functions of 
adults. EPA estimates that the LCRR would result in replacements of 
only approximately five percent of LSLs over a 35-year period. Our 
review leads the agency to believe that there are opportunities to do 
significantly more to address this urgent public health risk. EPA plans 
to seek comment on how revisions to the LCRR could advance the 
Administration's priority of removing 100 percent of LSLs.
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    \10\ AwwaRF. 2008. Contribution of Service Line and Plumbing 
Fixtures to Lead and Copper Rule Compliance Issues. 978-1-60573-031-
7.
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    Second, based on EPA's review of the LCRR, the agency believes 
there are significant potential opportunities to

[[Page 71578]]

revise the LCRR to ensure that it equitably improves public health 
protection for all, regardless of their economic status, to avoid 
exacerbating existing health and economic inequalities. To reach this 
goal, EPA will explore potential regulatory revisions in combination 
with financial assistance programs and partnerships targeted to 
disadvantaged consumers, regardless of whether they are homeowners, in 
an effort to direct limited community resources towards low-income 
households that have been historically underserved. Communities such as 
Newark, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan have shown that full LSLR can 
be equitably achieved when there is both a regulatory requirement and a 
commitment to prioritize funding.
    Third, EPA's review of the LCRR leads the agency to conclude that 
there are opportunities to better identify the communities that are 
most at risk of elevated drinking water lead levels and explore ways to 
compel action before consumers have been put at risk, rather than only 
after a lead action level exceedance. Specifically, EPA is considering 
potential revisions to the LCRR to expeditiously compel steps to 
replace lead service lines and ensure that the higher tap sampling 
result is used for measuring compliance, including levels found in the 
service line or in plumbing fixtures inside homes. In addition, EPA is 
considering potential revisions to the LCRR to reduce complexity from 
the lead action and trigger levels in particular and ensure that the 
rule is easily understandable and triggers appropriate and feasible 
corrective actions.

IV. Planned Actions To Address Lead in Drinking Water

    To protect public health and fully and equitably meet the 
requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the agency intends to 
propose for comment revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule and to 
undertake non-regulatory actions. This section describes the potential 
improvements to the LCRR that EPA plans to explore through a notice and 
comment rulemaking and additional actions EPA is contemplating to 
ensure greater public health protection from lead in drinking water.

A. New Regulation: Lead and Copper Rule Improvements

    EPA intends to immediately begin to develop a proposed National 
Primary Drinking Water Regulation: Lead and Copper Rule Improvements 
(LCRI) to address the issues identified in the E.O. 13990 review. EPA 
will follow all Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and other relevant 
statutory and E.O. requirements in proposing the LCRI and taking final 
action on the proposal, including all necessary economic and 
environmental justice analyses and the consideration of alternatives 
and public comment. EPA intends to take final action on the LCRI 
proposal prior to the October 16, 2024 compliance date of the existing 
regulations (i.e., the LCRR); the implications for compliance and 
primacy applications under the LCRR are discussed in detail below in 
Section IV.B. This schedule ensures that as little time as possible is 
lost before the improved public health protections of the LCRR and the 
LCRI can be realized in communities across the country.
EPA's Intent To Propose LCR Improvements
    EPA intends to propose changes to the LCRR to address the main 
opportunities for improvement identified in our review, as well as 
consider other potential improvements. These are described below.
1. Replacement of LSLs
    First, there is a significant opportunity to improve the LCRR with 
regard to replacement of LSLs. Under the LCRR, water systems are only 
required to replace a small percentage of their LSLs and only after 
their customers are exposed to high lead levels. Water systems serving 
more than 10,000 people with more than 10 percent of samples above the 
action level of 0.015 mg/L need only replace 3 percent of their LSLs 
per year. These systems may stop their LSLR programs in as little as 
two years if the system meets the action level in four consecutive 6-
month monitoring periods. Large systems with 90th percentile lead 
concentrations above the trigger level of 0.010 mg/L are only required 
to replace LSLs at a goal rate approved by the state. EPA projected 
that goal rate would likely be lower than 3 percent (USEPA, 2020).\11\ 
Systems may stop these goal-based LSLR programs in as little as one 
year if the system meets the trigger level in two consecutive 6-month 
monitoring periods. Ultimately, most systems would be required to 
replace only a small portion of the LSLs in their distribution system: 
EPA projected that only 339,000 to 555,000 LSLs (out of 6.3 to 9.3 
million LSLs) would be replaced over the 35-year period of analysis for 
the rulemaking (USEPA, 2020). This Administration believes it is an 
urgent priority to eliminate all LSLs to improve the health of our 
people. President Biden has called for replacement of all LSLs in the 
nation, which will improve public health while putting Americans to 
work.\12\ To help achieve this goal, the recently enacted Bipartisan 
Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides $15 billion in funding over the next 
five years for LSLR.
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    \11\ USEPA. 2020. Economic Analysis for the Final Lead and 
Copper Rule Revisions. December 2020. Office of Water.
    \12\ https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/.
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    Given the serious risks of lead exposure through drinking water, 
replacing all LSLs is an important policy goal. The States of Michigan, 
Illinois, and New Jersey have recently passed laws requiring all of 
their water systems to proactively replace lead service lines. These 
are three of the five states with the highest estimated numbers of LSLs 
according to a 2016 national survey (Cornwell 2016).\13\ Cornwell 2016 
reported that the sum of the estimated number of LSLs in these three 
states is just over one-fourth of the remaining estimated number of 
LSLs in the country.
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    \13\ Cornwell, D.A et al., National Survey of Lead Service Line 
Occurrence, Journal AWWA, April 2016, at E182.
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    EPA is mindful however, that the existing LCRR requirements and 
action by selected states and federal funding incentives may not be 
sufficient to achieve 100 percent replacement of LSLs and reduce risks 
to families living in the homes served by these lines without 
additional actions. Therefore, EPA intends to propose for comment 
requirements that, along with other, non-regulatory actions, would 
result in the replacement of all LSLs as quickly as is feasible. EPA's 
proposal will fully consider the agency's statutory authority and 
required analyses, including an economic and environmental justice 
analysis.
    Second, there are important opportunities to ensure that public 
health is protected equitably. The cost of replacing the customer-
portion of an LSL may leave the most vulnerable Americans 
disproportionately exposed to lead if they cannot afford the expense of 
replacement. In the Economic Analysis for the final LCRR (USEPA, 2020), 
EPA estimated that between 21 and 28 percent of the anticipated LSLRs 
under the LCRR would be customer-initiated replacements. Those are 
replacements where the system replaces the public portion of an LSL 
after being notified that a homeowner has replaced the private portion 
of the service line. The remaining LSLR predicted under the LCRR would 
be done by systems that exceed the action level or trigger

[[Page 71579]]

level. To meet the LCRR's mandatory 3 percent replacement or state-
approved goal rate, some systems may focus on replacing lines where the 
customer could pay to replace their portion of the line.
    To address both of these issues, EPA intends to propose for comment 
rule revisions to advance the policy goal to prioritize distributional 
impacts. For instance, EPA intends to explore how to replace LSLs in a 
manner that prioritizes historically disadvantaged communities. Through 
the regulatory development process, EPA will also evaluate options to 
partner and provide financial assistance and prioritize the removal of 
LSLs in communities disproportionately impacted by lead in drinking 
water. EPA is also committing to partnering on a number of non-
regulatory actions to address this issue of the cost of LSLR on 
consumers (see Section IV.C of this document).
    The goal of these potential LSLR regulatory improvements and non-
regulatory actions is to equitably improve public health protection and 
remove the most significant source of lead in drinking water.
2. Compliance Tap Sampling and Action/Trigger Levels
    There are also significant potential opportunities to identify the 
communities that are most at risk of experiencing elevated levels of 
lead in drinking water and compel actions sufficient to reduce the 
health risks in those communities. At sites with LSLs, the LCRR 
requires a fifth liter sample to be analyzed for lead to better 
characterize the lead which has been introduced while the water was in 
contact with the LSL, as opposed to the building premise plumbing. It 
also requires a first liter sample to be analyzed for copper when 
copper is also being monitored at those sites. For non-lead LSL sites, 
a first liter sample is analyzed for both lead and copper. The State of 
Michigan revised its Lead and Copper Rule in 2018 to require the first 
and fifth liter samples to be analyzed for lead at sites with LSLs, 
with the higher of the two results used for the 90th percentile 
calculation. The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, in 
their May 21, 2021 comments, summarized data from the initial round of 
sampling in Michigan. Using the highest number from the first and fifth 
liters, 31 systems had an action level exceedance. When just the fifth 
liter results were used, only 22 systems had an action level 
exceedance. EPA will explore these and other available data in 
developing potential revisions to strength compliance tap sampling in 
the forthcoming LCRI proposal.
    In the forthcoming proposed LCRI, EPA also intends to evaluate 
options for utilities to address lead contamination at lower levels and 
improve sampling methods to provide better health protection and more 
effective implementation of the rule. The agency will evaluate options 
to consolidate and potentially lower the LCRR's action and trigger 
levels. Stakeholders participating in the virtual engagement identified 
the action level/trigger level concept as the central regulatory 
variable that drives system and state action to reduce elevated lead 
levels in drinking water and many stakeholders commented that the 
action level should be lower to require more systems to take corrective 
action to protect public health from the adverse effects of lead. In 
the forthcoming proposed LCRI, the agency will explore options to 
address these concerns, including whether to eliminate the trigger 
level and lower the action level to compel action by water systems 
sooner to reduce the health risks in more communities. The agency will 
also evaluate whether the trigger level requirements of the LCRR would 
still be necessary if improved proactive LSLR and a more aggressive 
lower action level are adopted.
3. Other Areas of the Rule Where EPA Is Considering Improvements
    EPA intends to primarily focus its rulemaking process on proposing 
approaches aimed at the policy goal of proactive and equitable LSLR, as 
well as proposals to address compliance tap sampling improvements; re-
evaluation of the action and trigger levels; and consideration of 
prioritizing protections for historically disadvantaged communities. 
The agency also received stakeholder input suggesting improvements to a 
number of additional components of the LCRR. EPA will also be 
considering these suggestions and other options to equitably improve 
public health protection and improve implementation of the rule to 
ensure that it prevents adverse health effects of lead to the extent 
feasible. These additional components may include the LCRR provisions 
for small system flexibility, school and child-care sampling, risk 
communication, and corrosion control treatment. EPA will also consider 
addressing these issues through non-regulatory actions such as the 
development of implementation tools, guidance, and other federal 
programs.

B. Implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

    The final agency action, National Primary Drinking Water 
Regulations: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions; Delay of Effective and 
Compliance Dates (published on June 16, 2021 in the Federal Register 
(86 FR 31939)), delayed the effective date of the LCRR until December 
16, 2021 and the compliance date until October 16, 2024. Following the 
LCRR review, EPA has decided to not delay the effective date any 
further. At this time, EPA is also not planning to further change the 
compliance dates for the LCRR. EPA will consider any such changes 
through its forthcoming rulemaking. While EPA has identified components 
of the LCRR for potential revision to improve public health protection, 
the agency has also determined that the LCRR includes advancements that 
should proceed in order to ensure continued progress toward reducing 
drinking water lead exposure.
Compliance Deadlines
    The current compliance deadline for the LCRR is thus October 16, 
2024. EPA intends to propose, in the LCRI, revisions to the compliance 
deadlines only for components of the rule that the agency will propose 
to significantly revise. At this time, EPA does not expect to propose 
changes to the requirements for information to be submitted in the 
initial LSL inventory or the associated October 16, 2024 compliance 
date. Continued progress to identify LSLs is integral to lead reduction 
efforts regardless of potential revisions to the rule. The inventory 
provides critical information on the locations of potentially high 
drinking water lead exposure within and across public water systems, 
which will allow for quick action to reduce exposure. By preparing an 
LSL inventory, water systems will be able to target communication to 
residents in homes with LSLs about the actions they can take to reduce 
their lead exposure. Preparing the initial inventory will allow systems 
to assess the extent of the LSLs within their system, better identify 
sampling locations, and begin planning for LSLR actions, including 
applying for state and federal grants and loans. LSL inventories will 
allow water systems, states, tribes, and the Federal government to 
determine the prevalence of these lead sources and to target lead risk 
communication and lead removal programs where they are needed most. 
With the development of these initial inventories nationwide over the 
next three years, EPA anticipates that water

[[Page 71580]]

systems, states and tribes will be prepared to quickly implement the 
other LCRR requirements, as well as any improvements made through the 
planned LCRI rulemaking that may be adopted to further reduce drinking 
water lead levels, and be well-positioned to apply for any available 
grants or loans for LSLR.
    There are two other actions that water systems currently must 
complete by the LCRR's October 16, 2024 compliance date: the LSLR plan 
and the tap sampling plan. The LSLR plan would describe the procedure 
for systems to conduct lead service line replacements in accordance 
with the LCRR and the tap sampling plan would identify the locations 
and procedures for systems to conduct tap sampling in accordance with 
the LCRR. Because EPA intends to propose changes to the LSLR and tap 
sampling requirements, however, the agency also expects to propose to 
delay the October 16, 2024 deadline for submitting LSLR and tap 
sampling plans so that systems can incorporate any potential revisions 
made through LCRI rulemaking. While EPA expects to complete that 
rulemaking prior to the 2024 compliance date, EPA recognizes that this 
announcement of the forthcoming proposal creates some uncertainty for 
water systems and states regarding the deadline for completion of these 
plans. EPA plans to continue to engage with states, tribes, water 
systems, and all other stakeholders as the agency proposes the LCRI and 
takes final action on the proposal. In those engagements, which include 
a notice and comment process, EPA will seek input on a number of issues 
including whether current LCRR deadlines should be changed. As part of 
those discussions, EPA will consider concerns expressed by some 
commenters that further delays in compliance dates for some LCRR 
provisions may delay public health improvements. EPA also intends to 
seek comment on whether it would be practicable for water systems to 
implement any of the proposed LCRI requirements earlier than three 
years from the date of final action on the proposed LCRI, consistent 
with SDWA section 1412(b)(10).
Primacy Deadlines
    SDWA section 1413(a)(1) and 40 CFR 142.12(b), require states and 
tribes with primary enforcement authority (primacy) to submit final 
requests for approval of primacy program revisions to adopt new or 
revised EPA regulations two years after promulgation. As noted above, 
the LCRR is taking effect on December 16, 2021. EPA is not withdrawing 
the LCRR or further delaying its effective date because, among other 
reasons, it is critical for states and tribes to begin working with 
water systems to implement the initial LSL inventory provisions of the 
LCRR and because some other provisions of the LCRR, which advance 
protections from lead in drinking water, may not be revised as part of 
the forthcoming LCRI rulemaking. As explained in the final rule 
delaying the effective and compliance dates for the LCRR, EPA 
interprets the primacy revision application deadline in 40 CFR 
142.12(b)(1) to be calculated using this publication date, December 17, 
2021. As a result, primacy revision applications are due on December 
18, 2023. However, a state or tribe may apply for an extension of the 
deadline for up to two years in accordance with 40 CFR 142.12(b)(2).
    As further stated in this document, EPA anticipates completing its 
LCRI rulemaking prior to October 16, 2024. The forthcoming proposed 
regulatory changes under the LCRI, if finalized, would also result in 
states and tribes having to submit a primacy application for that 
regulation two years after it is promulgated. States and tribes will 
have greater clarity with respect to the primary enforcement (primacy) 
application revisions process and relevant timeframes when the LCRI is 
proposed. Accordingly, states and tribes that are concerned about 
submitting two successive primacy applications may request an extension 
of their LCRR primacy application deadline to be able to group the 
program revisions for the LCRR and LCRI into a single primacy 
application in accordance with 40 CFR 142.12(b)(2)(i)(C).

C. Additional EPA Actions To Address Lead in Drinking Water

    EPA's review of the LCRR and information received during the 
engagements process led the agency to conclude that EPA should take a 
number of additional actions outside of the SDWA regulatory framework 
to achieve the agency's policy objectives. These actions include:
     Developing and partnering on plans to ensure the equitable 
distribution of funds for reducing lead in drinking water;
     Encouraging cabinet level commitments for federal 
collaboration to address school and child-care lead in drinking water;
     Committing to target oversight and technical assistance 
for communities impacted by high lead levels;
     Improving risk communication through additional EPA 
guidance and tool development;
     Supporting water systems in meeting LSL Inventory 
requirements through the issuance of guidance; and
     Encouraging full LSL replacement and strongly discouraging 
partial LSL replacement.

1. Financing and Grant Programs

    Funding is key to a community's ability to accelerate both 
voluntary and required LSLR programs. EPA collaborates with states and 
tribes to provide opportunities for below-market interest rate loans 
and grants through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and 
the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan 
program. To support LSLR programs, special financing terms are 
available through the DWSRF for disadvantaged communities to help 
address affordability and the impacts of past disinvestment. EPA will 
encourage states to use their disadvantaged community programs to their 
fullest extent to provide subsidies and other assistance to support 
LSLR in vulnerable communities.
    Since 2018, EPA has also developed and implemented three grant 
programs \14\ under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the 
Nation (WIIN) Act to fund grants to small and disadvantaged 
communities. More than $175 million has been provided to date for: 
developing and maintaining compliance with national primary drinking 
water regulations (NPDWRs); lead reduction projects; and support for 
voluntary testing of drinking water in schools and child-care 
facilities. Funding from these programs can continue to be used to 
support actions to reduce lead in drinking water in addition to 
regulatory actions. Specifically, EPA has determined that there are 
multiple lead reduction activities that these grant programs authorize 
the use of funds for:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation 
Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America's drinking 
water infrastructure and included three new drinking water grants 
that promote public health and the protection of the environment. 
These include: (1) Section 2104: Small, Underserved, and 
Disadvantaged Communities; (2) Section 2105: Reducing Lead in 
Drinking Water; and (3) Section 2107: Lead Testing in School and 
Child Care Program Drinking Water.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Developing LSL inventories;
     Replacing full LSLs (including replacing the customer-
owned portion of an LSL);
     Installing or improving corrosion control treatment;
     Supporting voluntary lead drinking water testing programs 
for schools and child-care facilities; and

[[Page 71581]]

     Remediating lead in school and child-care drinking water.
    EPA learned during the LCRR virtual engagements that many small and 
historically disadvantaged communities face challenges accessing these 
EPA funding opportunities. Many lack the capacity to develop 
competitive funding applications and have not applied for DWSRF loans 
or other infrastructure grants in the past. EPA will seek opportunities 
to provide technical assistance to small and disadvantaged communities. 
The agency will also promote awareness of the availability of these 
programs to address lead in drinking water, including, for LSL 
replacement, regardless of ownership of the LSLs. EPA will also 
highlight case studies from communities that have successfully 
addressed concerns regarding the use of public funds for private-side 
LSLR. To the extent possible, expanded, or new funding programs under 
future legislation will also be directed to similar projects.
    States can direct funds available under the American Rescue Plan 
(ARP) Act to water infrastructure, and specifically lead reduction. 
States could also use ARP funds to address lead in schools and child-
care facilities and to accelerate voluntary LSLR programs.
2. Ensuring Equity in the Distribution of Funds for Reducing Lead in 
Drinking Water
    Through E.O. 14008, President Biden established the Justice 40 
initiative--setting a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of 
certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that have 
been historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution and 
underinvestment in housing, transportation, water and wastewater 
infrastructure, and health care. This initiative is a critical part of 
the Administration's whole-of-government approach to advancing equity 
and environmental justice. Two EPA programs central to EPA's goal to 
accelerate LSLR are pilot programs under the Justice 40 initiative: The 
DWSRF and the WIIN Reduction in Lead via Drinking Water Exposure Grant. 
EPA is engaging with stakeholders and exploring opportunities to 
maximize the benefits of these programs in disadvantaged communities, 
including their specific application to LSLR projects.
    EPA will partner with states, tribes, and other stakeholders to 
collaborate with disadvantaged communities to build their capacity to 
better compete for and access water infrastructure funding. EPA will 
develop tools to share information, improve transparency and 
accountability. EPA is committed to improving public education and 
outreach on the availability of funding opportunities and the tools and 
resources to support accessing these dollars.
    One of EPA's priorities is to ensure that entities receiving 
federal financial assistance from the agency comply with the federal 
civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, 
color, national origin, disability, sex and age, including Title VI of 
the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal civil rights laws protect many of 
the populations that have been exposed to disproportionate levels of 
harmful environmental, quality of life, and health impacts from 
pollution and environmental contamination. These populations are also 
more likely to be exposed to lead in drinking water. Many states and 
water systems receive some form of federal funding under the Safe 
Drinking Water Act and have an affirmative obligation to ensure their 
actions comply with civil rights laws. States and water systems 
receiving federal funds have an affirmative obligation to implement 
effective non-discrimination compliance programs. EPA intends to 
carefully evaluate the provisions of the rule, including the LSLR 
provisions, and implementation of EPA financial assistance programs to 
ensure compliance with these laws.
3. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
    The recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) \15\ provides an 
additional $11.713 billion in general DWSRF funding and $15 billion 
specifically targeted to communities for the identification and 
replacement of LSLs through the DWSRF. Each funding provision is 
scheduled over the next five years. The BIL authorizes $500 million for 
the WIIN Reduction in Lead Program over the next five years, 
emphasizing LSL replacement and corrosion control treatment in 
disadvantaged communities. BIL also authorizes $200 million for lead 
testing and remediation in school and child-care drinking water and 
authorizes $10 million for a new grant program for LSLR in communities 
with existing inventories. EPA will work with its state and tribal 
partners, communities, and other stakeholders to identify potentially 
high impact but underutilized authorities that would allow states and 
tribes to fund full LSL replacement. The agency will also significantly 
increase federal, state, and tribal outreach and engagement efforts to 
communities to support LSLR activities. Additionally, EPA will update 
funding program guidance to provide examples of best state practices 
for addressing disproportionate and adverse health and environmental 
impacts experienced by communities, including communities of color and 
low-income communities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ Public Law 117-58. https://www.congress.gov/117/bills/hr3684/BILLS-117hr3684enr.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Cabinet Level Commitments for Federal Collaboration To Address 
School and Child-Care Lead in Drinking Water
    Children spend a significant portion of their time at places of 
learning, so it is critical to reduce lead in drinking water in schools 
and child-care facilities. This is a challenging problem. EPA's 
authority to regulate actions by schools and child-care centers that 
may be necessary to address lead in drinking water is limited. 
Moreover, due to resource constraints, schools and child-care 
facilities may choose not to participate in voluntary efforts to sample 
for lead in drinking water if funding for remediation is not available. 
Some commenters representing facilities with lead in drinking water 
indicated they need financial support to address lead. Finally, schools 
and child-care facilities that serve low-income communities are less 
likely to have the resources necessary to identify and address lead 
issues.
    EPA currently advances efforts to address lead in schools and 
child-care facilities through two vehicles: (a) The Memorandum of 
Understanding on Reducing Lead Levels in Drinking Water in Schools and 
Child-Care Facilities (MOU), which includes 14 federal and non-federal 
partners; and (b) funding under grant programs like the Lead Testing in 
School and Child-care Drinking Water Grant and the Reducing Lead in 
Drinking Water Grant. While these efforts assist schools and child-care 
facilities to develop and implement lead testing programs, EPA 
recognizes the urgency of a more comprehensive federal approach to 
address this issue.
    To address these critical concerns, EPA is pursuing deeper 
partnerships with a range of Federal agencies to make progress on 
reducing lead in drinking water from schools and child-care facilities. 
EPA will explore funding that may be available from Federal agencies 
that could be used towards remediation of lead in drinking water in 
these facilities, with a particular focus on communities at risk of 
multiple forms of lead exposure. Collaboration at the federal level has 
the potential to further the reduction of lead in drinking water at 
schools and child-care facilities than

[[Page 71582]]

could be achieved by reliance on regulatory requirements alone.
5. Targeted Technical Assistance to Communities With High Drinking 
Water Lead Levels
    While EPA will propose important changes to the regulation of lead 
in drinking water, it is critical for systems to conduct proper 
sampling for lead and maintain the water chemistry needed to minimize 
lead corrosion under existing rules. EPA will collaborate with states 
to provide oversight of these critical provisions as well as provide 
assistance to low income and other historically disadvantaged 
communities experiencing high levels of lead in their drinking water 
because they are disproportionately served by LSLs. Communities 
impacted by lead in drinking water participating in the LCRR virtual 
engagements emphasized the need for financial and technical assistance. 
In collaboration with our state and tribal coregulators, EPA intends to 
provide targeted technical assistance to community water systems to 
reduce lead exposure.
6. Improving Risk Communication Tools
    Throughout the LCRR virtual engagements, EPA received feedback that 
risk communication about lead in drinking water must be improved and 
that water utilities need support to develop effective communication 
materials. EPA intends to develop guidance and templates to assist 
states, tribes, and water systems in the communication of lead risk to 
householdsand communities. Additionally, EPA intends to propose 
revisions to the Consumer Confidence Report Rule (40 CFR 141, subpart 
O) which will include requirements related to providing information on 
corrosion control efforts and on lead action level exceedances when 
corrective action is needed.
7. Providing Guidance on How To Create a Lead Service Line Inventory
    To further advance the proactive replacement of LSLs, EPA will 
pursue research to use data analytics and other methods to accelerate 
and improve the process of identifying LSLs. EPA intends to publish 
inventory development guidance to assist water systems, states, and 
tribes by providing best practices, case studies, and templates. The 
guidance will address issues raised by commenters including the use of 
statistical models to help determine LSL locations, classification of 
unknowns, goosenecks, and galvanized plumbing, best practices for 
service line material verification, inventory form and format, 
inventory accessibility, tools to support inventory development and 
data tracking, and how LSL identification may be prioritized. EPA is 
also updating the Safe Drinking Water Information System, including all 
relevant components, to support state and tribal data management needs 
for LSL inventories.
8. Discourage Partial LSLR and Encourage Full LSLR
    Partial LSLRs can cause short-term elevation of lead concentrations 
in drinking water and further extend lead health risk from service 
lines because a portion of the lead line remains in service. EPA 
strongly discourages water systems from conducting partial LSLR. EPA 
recommends systems proactively implement full LSLR programs. The agency 
also expects water systems to effectively inform and engage customers 
during LSLR and provide outreach and filters to residents with LSLs for 
six months following replacements. EPA also recommends that LSLR 
programs prioritize the most vulnerable populations by focusing on 
schools, child-care facilities, homes where children are living, other 
locations where children are present, and households of those who 
historically have been disproportionately exposed to lead from water 
and other media.
    EPA will provide training and guidance on LSLR program development 
and available methods for replacing LSL as safely and efficiently as 
possible. EPA also will provide tools, best practices, and case studies 
for systems to set up voluntary LSLR programs and to implement required 
ones. The agency will update the document Funding and Technical 
Resources for Lead Service Line Replacement in Small and Disadvantaged 
Communities,16 and promote awareness of funding and 
financing that can be used for LSLR, including the replacement of the 
customer-owned portion of the service line. All the agency's 
communications will describe the risks posed by partial LSLR and 
mitigation measures to reduce elevated water lead concentrations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/documents/ej_lslr_funding_sources-final.pdf.

Michael S. Regan,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2021-27457 Filed 12-16-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P