Next Steps for the Revised LCR
The Association of State Drinking Water Agencies (ASDWA) reported that on Tuesday (November 9, 2021) EPA submitted a notice indicating their final action “on the delay in the effective dates and compliance dates for the Lead and Copper Rule [LCR Revisions] to the Office of Management and Budget for final review.” It is anticipated that before the December 16, 2021 effective date of the LCR Revisions, EPA’s notice will be published in the Federal Register. It is not known if EPA intends to let the LCR Revisions go into effect without any changes or if the Agency will propose changes for public comment.
Link to OMB Site Indicating Receipt of Revised LCR Notice from EPA on November 9, 2021
The final LCR Revisions were published on January 15, 2021. On January 20, 2021 the Biden Administration issued a Regulatory Freeze to allow Federal agencies an opportunity to review recent regulations, including the LCR Revisions. EPA then delayed the effective date of the LCR Revisions to December 16, 2021 and delayed the compliance deadline until September 16, 2024. During 2021 EPA held a series of public meetings as well as meetings with Tribal Groups, National Stakeholder Groups and Co-Regulators to seek their input on the LCR Revisions.
Nominations for a New NDWAC M/DBP Working Group
In the November 12, 2021 Federal Register (Fed Reg_NDWAC MDBP Working Group_2021-11-12) EPA is requesting that the National Drinking Water Advisory County (NDWAC) “….provide advice and recommendations on key issues related to potential revisions to the following Microbial and Disinfection Byproducts (MDBP) rules: Stage 1 and Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rules, Surface Water Treatment Rule, Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, and Long-Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule.” To support that effort, EPA is requesting nominations for an M/DBP Rule Revisions Working Group. The M/DBP Rule Revisions Working Group would make recommendations to the full NDWAC. After reviewing the Working Group’s recommendations, the NDWAC would then submit recommendations of possible M/DBP Rule Revisions to EPA.
The following presents EPA’s description for members in the M/DBP Working Group: “EPA seeks perspectives from state officials and tribal officials, drinking water system operators from systems of all sizes, and environmental and public interest representatives. Any interested person and/or organization may nominate qualified individuals for possible working group participation. Interested individuals may self-nominate.” Nominations are due by December 13, 2021.
Under the SDWA as amended in 1996, EPA is required to conduct a review of drinking water regulations every six years, and if appropriate, revise specific regulations. Previous six-year reviews were concluded in 2003 and in 2010. In December 2016, EPA announced the completion of its third review of existing drinking water regulations. EPA determined that eight regulations are candidates for regulatory revision. The eight regulations are chlorite, Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, haloacetic acids (HAA5), heterotrophic bacteria, Legionella, TTHM, and viruses. These constituents are currently regulated under the Long-term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule and are referred to as Microbial/Disinfection Byproduct (M/DBP) regulations.
In October 2020, and during 2021 EPA held a series of public meetings to obtain input on possible revisions to the eight M/DBP regulations. The next public meeting will be held on November 18, 2021 and is expected to be a summary of the previous public meetings.