June 21, 2016
In an extensive analysis of EPA records, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals an alarming 5,363 community water systems across the United States have violated the federal Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). Through the use of GIS mapping software, they geographically map these violations to visually display the scope of the lead problem in drinking water systems across the country. According to the report, these violations include failures to properly test water for lead contamination, failures to report contamination, and failures to treat the water appropriately. The NRDC continues by highlighting their discovery of at least 1,110 community water systems in 2015 (serving 3.9 million people) with lead levels above 15 parts per billion (ppb), the established action level for the LCR. According to EPA guidelines, if lead concentrations exceed this action level in more than 10% of sampled customer taps, the system must take additional corrosion control actions and measures to inform the public. However, the NRDC indicates in this report that many violations are underreported and nearly 90 percent of LCR violations are not subject to formal enforcement.