AWWA: Lead Rule Revisions Underscore Importance of Customer Communications


EPA's revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule underscore the importance of effective public communications in the water community's ongoing efforts to limit exposure to lead in drinking water, stated Jack W. Hoffbuhr, American Water Works Association's executive director.

On Oct. 10, EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule containing changes to the national primary drinking water regulations for lead and copper. According to Hoffbuhr, EPA's action will encourage more awareness of lead in drinking water in three ways.

"First, (the rule) ensures utilities discuss lead in drinking water in annual consumer confidence reports," Hoffbuhr stated. "This assures a greater understanding of the issue among consumers, even in communities where there has been no exceedance of the lead action level."

Second, the revised rule requires that people served by taps used in routine sampling receive information on the results of those tests, he stated, noting that the clarification already is regular practice at most utilities.

Third, in cases where the lead action level is exceeded, the new rule promotes improved coordination among utilities and health departments in communicating with the public," Hoffbuhr said.

"While lead is rarely present in water leaving treatment plants or traveling through distribution systems, it can leach into drinking water from lead plumbing, solders and fixtures," he said. "That means both the utility and the consumer have important roles to play in assuring the water remains safe for drinking."

The Federal Register notice can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-WATER/2007/October/Day-10/w19432.htm.

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