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Division of Environmental and Community Health

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

A Division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services

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Lead and Copper in Drinking Water

Lead and Copper in Drinking Water

U.S. EPA's, February 29, 2016 recommendations for collection of Lead and Copper samples and March 2016 Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment document can be found under the Highlights section EPA's Lead and Copper Rule webpage.

How does Lead and Copper Enter a Drinking Water Supply?

What is the Standard for Lead and Copper in Drinking Water?

What are the Health Effects of Lead?

What are the Health Effects of Copper?

Which Public Water Systems Must Test for Lead and Copper?

How do I Collect Lead and Copper Samples?

I've collected lead and copper samples for my public water system, now what?

What Happens if a Public Water System Exceeds EPA's Action Level for Lead?

New Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act

In January 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (Lead Reduction Act), which amends Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Lead Reduction Act changes the definition of “lead-free” from 8.0 percent to 0.25 percent. The Lead Reduction Act took effect on January 4, 2014 and requires pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures to be "lead free."

The Safe Drinking Water Act states the following:
"it [is] unlawful for any person to introduce into commerce any pipe, or any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture that is not lead free" and "no person may use any pipe, any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, any solder, or any flux, in the installation or repair of any public water system or any plumbing in a residential or nonresidential facility providing water for human consumption that is not lead free."

Lead is not normally found in source water, but can enter drinking water systems through the corrosion of the pipes and plumbing fixtures. Regulatory efforts to reduce the presence of lead in drinking water tend to focus on the lead content of drinking water system components. The federal law applies to any product used in systems where water is anticipated to be used for human consumption.

Summary Of The Reduction Of Lead In Drinking Water Act And Frequently Asked Questions (pdf, US EPA)
Lead-Free Certification Marks- How to Identify for Drinking Water Systems & Plumbing Materials (pdf, US EPA)

Additional Resources