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Lead and copper enters drinking water primarily through plumbing materials. Exposure to lead and copper may cause health problems ranging from stomach distress to brain damage. In 1991, the EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule (also referred to as the LCR).
The LCR requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. If lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 parts per billion or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 parts per million in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion.
If the action level for lead is exceeded, the system must also inform the public about steps they should take to protect their health and may have to replace lead service lines under their control.
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