Monday, August 6, 2012

Implementation of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act

On August 16, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to host a public meeting to get input from states, manufacturers, drinking water system administrators, and other interested groups and consumers on the implementation of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011. The Act was signed on January 4, 2011, and will go into effect in January 2014. The meeting will be held at the EPA Conference Center in Arlington, VA, from 1 - 4:30 pm.

The Act amends Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to prohibit the use of certain plumbing products that are not “lead free” (as defined by SDWA), and bans the introduction of products that are not “lead free.” The revision to the SDWA changed the definition of "lead-free" to a lead content with weighted average of not more than 0.25% in the wetted surface material. In addition, the Act added a specific formula for calculating lead content. Finally, the Act created two separate exemptions to the prohibitions on the use and introduction into commerce of products that are not “lead free.”

Some changes to the Act raised implementation challenges and issues that may warrant further regulatory changes. EPA says it would make any needed regulatory changes as part of the Lead and Copper Rule long-term revisions. Because the final Lead and Copper Rule revisions will be published after the effective date of SDWA revisions, the Agency intends to provide information to assist plumbing manufacturers, states, water systems, plumbing retailers, and other parties in complying with the provisions of the Act starting in 2014. Information in the public meeting will help inform these stakeholders on the regulatory revisions that will affect them.

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