The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Lead and Copper Rule in 1991. Under this rule, Durham tests more than 65 homes built between 1983 and 1985 every three years. We most recently tested between June and September of 2022. Those results showed lead levels at the homes were far less than the detection level, with only one at the detection level but well below the EPA action level. You can review historical testing results in the annual Water Quality Reports posted on the City’s Website: https://www.durhamnc.gov/946/Annual-Reports
The Lead and Copper Rule also required the City to begin a corrosion control program, which we did in the early 1990s. Water is corrosive by nature, so by adding zinc orthophosphate and managing the pH level of the water, we lower the potential of lead leaching from household pipes and plumbing. Corrosion was the major cause of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. Officials there decided not to add corrosion control chemicals to the city’s treated water when they changed water sources. As a result, the chemical composition of the new water source allowed lead to leach from pipes. The Flint crisis sparked revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule.
After several years of review and analysis, the EPA released its Lead and Copper Rule Revisions on October 16, 2021. Durham Water must comply with the rule by October 16, 2024. Key Lead and Copper Rule Revisions requirements are to:
- Develop a materials inventory of all service lines – public and private (see graphic below)
- Create a lead service line replacement plan based on the inventory results
- Update/expand the compliance sampling locations based on new criteria
- Prepare a sampling plan for schools and licensed daycares
- Review our corrosion control program