Lead and Copper Management

Jun 6, 2019

Water utilities play a critical role in protecting public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water. Household plumbing and service lines can contain lead and copper pipes and components. The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) is designed to provide utilities with a framework to help reduce lead and copper levels in drinking water. Differences in water chemistry, plumbing materials, building configurations, distribution systems, corrosion control strategies, and other water system variations can pose significant challenges to minimizing lead and copper levels at the customer’s tap. Significant proposed revisions to the LCR are expected to be released by EPA in 2019 that may provide additional challenges. Utilities need resources to help them reduce lead and copper levels and comply with current and future LCR challenges. 


Research Area Objectives

  1. Evaluate lead service line disturbance challenges
  2. Explore corrosion control strategies for lead and copper
  3. Investigate remediation strategies for large buildings with lead problems
  4. Assess sampling protocols for lead and copper
  5. Provide resources for utilities to communicate to their stakeholders on lead and copper issues


Research Area Project Timeline and Value

Full Lead Service Line Replacement Guidance

  • Timeline: 2017–2020
  • Total Project Value: $1,278,000
  • Research Area Objectives: Disturbance, Corrosion Control, Large Building Remediation, Sampling, Communication

Evaluating Key Factors that Affect the Accumulation and Release of Lead from Galvanized Pipes

  • Timeline: 2018–2021
  • Total Project Value: $440,000
  • Research Area Objectives: Disturbance, Corrosion Control

Analysis of Corrosion Control Treatment for Lead and Copper Control

  • Timeline: TBD
  • Total Project Value: TBD
  • Research Area Objectives: Corrosion Control

Cumulative Value of Research Area Research (to date): $1,718,000


Projects Funded Outside of the Research Area Program that meet a Research Area Objective

For more information about our many lead-related research projects, please refer to our Lead & Copper Topic Hub.

Project Status

Year Initiated: 2017

Year Completed: Ongoing


Advisory Committee Members

  • Steve Estes-Smargiassi, MWRA
  • Matt Corson, American Water
  • Michele Prevost, Polytechnique Montreal
  • Steve Via, AWWA
  • David Cornwell, Cornwell Engineering
  • Darren Lytle, EPA
  • Simoni Triantafyllidou, EPA