Lead and Copper Rule Revisions Compliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) have released updated standards called the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) in 2022. The updated rule is designed to protect communities from the risks of lead exposure from drinking water flowing through lead-based pipes.

The primary goal of the Lead and Copper Rule is to ensure that drinking water in communities across the United States remains safe and free from contaminants. The rule stipulates that water utilities must work to eliminate any existing lead water lines in their distribution systems.

The City of Lenoir will work diligently to meet the new requirements and guidelines in the LCRR.

Does Lenoir have lead service lines?

No. As far as City of Lenoir staff is aware, the City water system does not have lead service lines. Staff do not have records or knowledge of any known lead service lines in the City's water distribution system. 

City staff routinely samples for lead as required by the EPA, and results have met state and federal safe drinking water levels for lead. The Annual Drinking Water Quality Report has more information on the latest water quality sampling. Click the following link to read the City's latest water quality report, Consumer Confidence Report.

Service Line Inventory

The LCRR requires water systems staff to develop a Service Line Inventory (SLI). A service line is the water line that runs from the City's water main to a house or building. Service lines are generally owned and maintained by the customer.

The SLI must identify the location and material of all service lines in the water system that connect to buildings. The City must also make that information available to the public. The SLI must classify the material for customer-owned and system-owned service lines.

The SLI will classify service lines in one of four ways: 

  • Lead
  • Galvanized Requiring Replacement (GRR)
  • Non-Lead
  • Unknown

A GRR service line is a galvanized pipe that has the potential for mineral deposits, such as lead, to accumulate within the piping over time. 

The City of Lenoir does not expect to uncover lead service lines during this process.

An initial SLI is due to NC DEQ by October 16, 2024.

How will Lenoir develop the Service Line Inventory?

The City will use several methods to identify service line material including:

  • Existing records and data
  • Field inspections
  • Customer Self-assessment and Survey

Existing Records and Data: Staff can use property construction dates from Caldwell County to determine the age of service lines. Buildings constructed after 1988 are highly unlikely to have lead service lines. That's because 1988 was the effective date of the 1986 amendment to the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act. The act prohibited the use of lead for drinking water pipe, solder, and flux.

Field Inspections: Staff or contractors will conduct inspections at properties across Lenoir’s water system to verify service line material and minimize the quantity of Unknown service lines. The City will inspect service lines by:

  • Potholing
  • Meter Box Inspections
  • Building Inspections

Potholing involves excavations on either side of a meter box (curb stop) to uncover service lines and determine service line material. Potholing excavations will be located at least 18 inches from the meter box (curb stop) and will be two feet wide.

Meter Box Inspections involve looking inside the property’s meter box to determine service line material. Crews may need to clear vegetation debris to locate, uncover, and visually inspect the meter box contents.

Building Inspections involve entering building to inspect the service line. Property owners will need to be home to allow access to crews to enter the home and locate the customer-owned service line for material verification. The City will coordinate Building Inspections with property owners as needed.

For Potholing and Meter Box Inspections, property owners do not need to be home. Crews do not need to interact with property owners or enter homes.

Customer Self-Assessment Survey: Customers can contribute to the SLI and report their customer-owned service line material by performing a self-assessment and filling out an online form: 

Click the following link to fill out the Customer Self-Assessment Survey, LCRR Customer Self-Assessment Survey.

EPA provides guidance on identifying service line material. If you have questions about the self-assessment, survey, or your service line material, contact Jeff Church via email at jeff.church@ci.lenoir.nc.us.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some questions customers may have after learning about the LCRR.

Q: What happens if a lead service line is found during field inspections?
A: Lenoir does not expect that there will be lead service lines. However, Lenoir will follow EPA and NC DEQ LCRR guidance on addressing lead service lines if found.

Q: If lead pipe material is found, does that mean there is lead in the customer’s water?
A: No. It is possible to receive safe drinking water through a lead service line. The City of Lenoir uses a corrosion inhibitor that reduces the corrosion of metal pipes and decreases potential lead levels in treated drinking water. The corrosion inhibitor as a protective water treatment measure. City staff is not aware of any lead service lines.

Q: Will the public be notified of the SLI results?
A: The SLI will be made available to the public when the SLI is submitted to NC DEQ on October 16, 2024. For customers with Lead, GRR, or Unknown service line material, the City will send a notification letter to the property address. Lenoir will follow EPA and NC DEQ LCRR guidance on communicating SLI results to the public.

For more information or to ask more questions, contact Public Utilities Manager Jeff Church via email at jeff.church@ci.lenoir.nc.us.