Corrosion Control reduces lead and copper levels in tap water
• Lead and copper can cause physical and mental health effects. Children under the age six and women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, are especially at risk.
• The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was established in 1991 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health by minimizing the amount of lead and copper in public water systems (PWSs).
• The LCR requires public water systems to comply with sampling and monitoring requirements and to meet the current action levels for lead (15 ppb) and copper (1300 ppb) in drinking water.
• While new technologies are being developed, optimized corrosion control treatment (OCCT) and lead service line replacement (LSLR) programs are two approaches for reducing lead and copper in tap water.
Following implementation of the Lead and Copper Rule, Madison and Milwaukee took action to reduce lead and copper in their public water supplies.
In 1996, the City of Milwaukee, in conjunction with the EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), implemented optimized corrosion control treatment using orthophosphate and has continued this treatment to present day.
In 2001, the City of Madison began replacing all known LSLs (approximately 8,000) and completed the program in 2010.
As such, LCR compliance sampling from Madison in the years 2011, 2014, and 2017 consisted only of single family homes with copper service lines. Conversely, LCR compliance sampling in Milwaukee during those same years consisted of single family homes with LSLs with optimized corrosion control treatment.
Lead and copper comparisons revealed that lead concentrations were not significantly different between Madison and Milwaukee. In addition, copper concentrations were significantly lower in Milwaukee tap water compared to Madison. These data show that optimized corrosion control treatment is highly effective at reducing both lead and copper levels in tap water.
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