Mar 10, 2021

EPA Action Notices Extend Lead & Copper Rule Revision Effective Date

One notice proposes an extension for public comment while a second proposes an extension to the effective date and compliance date of the rule.

Greyscale image of a bent and corroded pipe next to concrete. The U.S. EPA has proposed extensions to the effective date of the Lead & Copper Rule Revision.

The U.S. EPA has revealed the two action notices it sent to the U.S. Office of Management & Budget regarding the Lead & Copper Rule Revision March 5.

In a press release March 10, EPA announced a proposed extension to the effective date of the Lead and Copper Rule Revision (LCRR) to seek further public input, particularly from communities that are most at-risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. The two action notices were posted as part of achieving that goal. Below follows verbatim language from the U.S. EPA press release:

The first action, which was signed on March 9, 2021, and sent to the Federal Register for publication, is a final rule that announces an extension of the effective date for the revised LCR from March 16, 2021 until June 17, 2021. The purpose of this additional time is to enable EPA to take public comment on a second action that would provide a longer extension of the effective date and for EPA to undertake its review of the rule in a deliberate and thorough manner consistent with the public health purposes of the Safe Drinking Water Act, President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis, the President’s Chief of Staff’s Regulatory Freeze Pending Review Memorandum, and in consultation with affected stakeholders.

The second action that was signed proposes to extend the effective date until December 16, 2021 and also proposes a corresponding extension of the revised LCR’s compliance deadline to September 16, 2024. This action would ensure that drinking water systems and primacy states continue to have the full three years provided by the Safe Drinking Water Act to take actions needed to assure regulatory compliance. EPA is seeking comment on this proposal for 30 days after it publishes in the Federal Register. 

Water & Wastes Digest published an article in the March 2021 issue of the magazine and online about what the LCRR contains. While uncertainty surrounded the future of the rule, editors and industry experts all agreed that preparing for the broad strokes is a prudent use of utility time leading up to the rule's effective date.

Additionally, WWD Senior Managing Editor Bob Crossen conducted a video interview with Erica Walker, senior director of services for 120Water, about how to prepare for the LCRR. This video was recorded two days prior to the posted action notices, however the advice and discussion remain relevant as utilities now have a longer period of time to prepare. Set a reminder for the video premiere on Facebook.

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