The Utilities Department at the City of Norman has worked diligently in recent months to prepare for the implementation of the revisions of the Lead and Copper Rule (LCRR) set forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and changes brought on by these mandates will soon be made more visible.
Nationwide regulation of lead in water systems began in the 1980s. The revisions announced by EPA in December of 2021 are intended to strengthen the original Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). Since then, staff has attended trainings and informational sessions to learn more about best practices and requirements necessary in adhering to future mandates of the LCRR. As there is no safe level of lead exposure in drinking water and the primary source of lead in drinking water is from infrastructure, strengthening the LCR will reduce the exposure of the community to lead. Lead exposure can lead to lifelong and irreversible health issues.
New rules call for an inventory of lead water lines within the community, to include public and private service lines, and creating a plan for replacement of these lines. As staff continues to study EPA guidance on this initiative and regularly communicates with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality for the required inventory that must be developed and submitted by October 16, 2024, residents are advised of the following:
- New and improved testing will be carried out as part of this initiative, as set forth by the EPA.
- Certain homes and businesses, constructed before 1991 and served by the City water system, may receive letters about testing of their water, possible future inventory work that might occur, and ways to help reduce exposure to lead within their residence or business along with health effect information regarding lead (EPA Basic Lead Information).
- Elementary schools and daycares built prior to 2014 will be contacted for testing as mandated by the new rule which requires 20 percent of schools and daycares be tested each year for the first 5 years after the rule becomes effective on October 16, 2024.
- The inventory will become public as mandated indicating the lead line status for locations served by the City water system.
More information on this undertaking at the local level will be communicated as it becomes available and as details are solidified. Utilities Administration also discuss these changes and other water-related challenges in the latest podcast episode of On West Gray. Normanites can sign up to receive City of Norman e-notifications at https://www.normanok.gov/norman-news.
Immediate water concerns may be phoned into staff at the Vernon Campbell Water Treatment Plant at 405.321.2182.