Lead and Copper Rule

EPA established monitoring requirements for lead and copper required for all Group A Community and nontransient noncommunity (NTNC) water systems. Refer to EPA’s 1991 Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) 40 CFR Part 141 Subpart I which includes Lead and Copper Rule Minor Revisions 2004 and Short-Term Revisions 2007; also refer to WAC 246-290-300.

Compliance and Monitoring Periods

The lead and copper compliance periods determine the number of samples to take (routine or reduced) and the frequency at which a water system must collect samples (every six months, once a year, or every three years). Some compliance periods include a more specific timeframe for when to collect samples (the monitoring period). 

For water systems monitoring annually or every three years for lead and copper, the monitoring period is limited to the warmest time of the year specified as the timeframe between June 1 and September 30. The LCR also defines the timing of actions following a lead or copper action level exceedance; the timing of monitoring activities related to reduced monitoring schedules; and reporting requirements.

We will calculate the deadlines for completing follow-up activities from the end of the monitoring period in which the exceedance occurred. All samples collected to meet a three-year monitoring period must be collected in the same year.

Reduced Monitoring

Systems can remain on reduced monitoring (annually or once every three years) if they meet the lead and copper action level and demonstrate, if applicable, effective corrosion control treatment by meeting optimal water quality parameters.

Public Education

Water systems must provide public education within 60 days after the monitoring period in which they exceed the lead action level. The rules allow us to extend the 60-day period if the system contacts the Office of Drinking Water prior to the deadline.

The rules define the content of the message provided to consumers, how the materials are delivered, and the timeframe for delivery. Water systems must also provide materials to additional organizations to reach at-risk populations (such as WIC programs, public and privates schools, and hospitals and clinics). Community systems with a population of 3,300 or less may limit these activities (40CFR141.85 (8)(b)(i, ii, iii)). (PDF)

Customer Notification

Water systems must provide notification of sample results to customers where lead and copper samples are collected. Systems must also certify they have completed these notices and provide a copy to the Office of Drinking Water. The notices and certification developed to help water systems meet these requirements include:

  • Community Water System—Consumer Notice—Lead and Copper Water Sample Results Word | PDF
  • Spanish Community Water System—Consumer Notice—Lead and Copper Water Sample Results Word | PDF
  • Noncommunity Water System—Consumer Notice—Lead and Copper Water Sample Results Word | PDF
  • Spanish Noncommunity Water System—Consumer Notice—Lead and Copper Water Sample Results Word | PDF
  • Lead and Copper Results—Consumer Notification Certification Form 331-462-F Word | PDF

New Sources and Long-Term Treatment Changes

Water systems must submit written documentation to appropriate regional staff prior to the addition of a new source or any long-term treatment change. Documentation must include an evaluation of potential impacts on the corrosivity of finished water. The Office of Drinking Water must review and approve any addition or change before implementation. Changes could include:

  • Addition of a new treatment process.
  • Modification of an existing treatment process, such as:
    • Switching secondary disinfectants (for example, chlorine to chloramines).
    • Switching coagulants (for example, alum to ferric chloride).
    • Switching corrosion inhibitor products (for example, orthophosphate to blended phosphate).
    • Changing the dosage of existing chemicals if the system is planning long-term changes to its finished water pH or residual inhibitor concentration.

Changes in treatment may require a system to return to monitoring once every six months due to the change in water chemistry.

Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)

All community water systems are required to provide information in their CCRs on lead in drinking water. Suggested language is available in our document, Preparing user-friendly Consumer Confidence Reports 331-296 (PDF), pages 7-8.


For more information on how to comply with the Lead and Copper Rules, check out EPA's Lead and Copper Rule website.

Contact your Office of Drinking Water regional staff.