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Lead and Copper Rule

The following provides a summary of the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule including the requirements for a water system to comply when an action level is exceeded.  This is text that is taken from Lead and Copper Rule Monitoring and Reporting Guidance for Public Water Systems: EPA 816-R-10-004, March 2010:

Tap monitoring results are the primary factor for determining ongoing monitoring requirements and whether a water system needs to undertake any of the following treatment technique requirements:

  • Corrosion control treatment;
  • Source water treatment;
  • Public education; and/or
  • Lead service line replacement.

There is no maximum contaminant level (MCL) for lead or copper. However, if the lead and copper tap 90th percentile monitoring results are higher than the lead action level of 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and/or the copper action level of 1.3 mg/L, corrosion control treatment is required.  To determine whether an action level has been exceeded, the value at the 90th percentile of all lead or copper samples collected is compared against its respective action level.  This means that no more than 10 percent of your samples can be above either action level. 

Lead and Copper Action Level
The EPA sets the Lead and Copper Action Level. This is not a health-based standard. Exceeding an action level requires specific changes to drinking water treatment to reduce pipe corrosion or other requirements that a water system must follow. The action level for lead and copper is triggered when the concentration of lead exceeds 15 parts per billion or the concentration of copper exceeds 1300 parts per billion after the water has been sitting in the pipe for at least six hours.  Exceeding the action level does not necessarily indicate a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act; however, additional compliance measures must be met including more frequent sampling and taking measures to mitigate the reaction of the finished water with piping, plumbing and service lines.  Mitigation measures typically include implementation of flushing programs and optimizing corrosion control during the treatment process.

Understanding Lead and Water           
The City has performed, and will continue to perform, point of entry samples from the water treatment plants that provide water for distribution to our consumers.  The water leaving these facilities have been found to have no detection of lead, but lead can be released when the water comes in contact with pipes and plumbing fixtures that contain lead and these levels typically vary between households and buildings.  While the City of Jackson does use a corrosion control treatment, in an effort to minimize lead exposure, the City of Jackson is undertaking a Corrosion Control Study to optimize treatment of the water leaving the plants so that it will have minimal impact on pipes and fixtures that have a tendency to leach lead.  

Pregnant or nursing women and children under age six should use filtered tap water for drinking and cooking until all lead sources are removed. Filters certified for lead removal are required to meet National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) Standard 53. 

Sources of lead in drinking water Lead service pipe
In the U.S., lead service pipes were installed until the mid-1950s. Older properties may still have lead service pipes, which connect the water main in the street to household plumbing.  The portion of the service pipe from the water main to the meter is owned by the City of Jackson.  The City is currently working to identify the presence of lead service lines in the City of Jackson in order to update the Site Plan required for Lead and Copper sampling and should the City be required to implement a Lead service line replacement program under the Lead and Copper Rule.  The maintenance of the portion of the service line on private property is the exclusive responsibility of the property owner.