Lead and Copper Rule
In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). The purpose of the rule is to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water. The EPA revised the rule in 2007 to enhance water monitoring and treatment, public education and consumer awareness.
- The Lead and Copper Rule can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR Part 141 Subpart I
- EPA Lead and Copper Rule
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Risk Associated with Lead in Drinking Water
The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe blood-level of lead for children. Adults with kidney problems or high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Pregnant women, infants and young children are most at risk from exposure to lead.
- EPA Basic Information
- EPA Learn About Lead
- CDC Basic Information
- New Mexico Department of Health Basic Information
Get Assistance –
The Lead Assistance Project can help with testing and other aspects of lead management.
Monitoring Drinking Water for Lead and Copper
The LCR requires all community and non-transient non-community public water systems to follow the tap water monitoring protocol. The protocol is designed to identify residences and other sampling locations most likely to have high levels of lead and/or copper.
- EPA Lead and Copper Rule – A Quick Reference Guide
- EPA Lead and Copper Rule – A Quick Reference Guide for Schools and Child Care Facilities
Monitoring Schedules and Guidelines
- New Mexico Sampling Schedules, by Public Water System (SDWIS)
- Suggested Direction for Homeowner Tap Sample Collection Procedures
- EPA Clarification of Recommended Tap Sampling Procedures of the Lead and Copper Rule
- Laboratories certified for New Mexico water sample analysis
- Analytical Request Forms – Drinking Water Sample Collection application (Registration is required to access the NMED Secure Extranet Portal where forms can be found.)
Public Notice Forms – notify customers within 30 days of receipt of sample analysis
- New Mexico Consumer Notice of Tap Water Results form
- New Mexico Verification of Lead Consumer Notice Issuance form
Response to Lead and Copper Action Level Exceedances
The action level for lead is 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and the action level for copper is 1.3 mg/L. If a public water system’s lead and/or copper 90th percentile monitoring results exceed the LCR action levels, the public water system is required to do the following:
- perform water quality parameter (WQP) monitoring
- determine the corrosivity of the water flowing through the water system’s distribution system
- distribute Public Education (PE) material (lead action level exceedances only)
Current Lead and Copper Action Level Exceedances in New Mexico
Public Education Materials
- Lead PE Materials – Community Public Water System
- Lead PE Materials – Non-Transient Non-Community Public Water System
Corrosion Control Treatment (CCT)
- EPA OCCT Evaluation Technical Recommendations
- EPA CCT Memo
- EPA OCCT Evaluation Template: Population less than or equal to 50K
- EPA OCCT Evaluation Template: Population more than 50K
Information for Schools and Day Care Facilities
Children age six and under as well as pregnant women are most vulnerable to the health impacts of lead in drinking water. NMDOH and NMED DWB collaborated to develop a guidance document for schools and facilities that serve water to children under six years of age to be able to test for lead levels and reduce the concentration once identified.
New Mexico Data for Lead in Drinking Water
Public water systems are required to compile and distribute a drinking water quality report each year, the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). If lead and/or copper are detected at a public water system, its CCR must include information about the range of detections during the most recent monitoring period. Contact your public water system administrator if you have not received your report.
- Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA)
- Carlsbad 2014 Water Quality Repport
- Las Cruces Utilities Water Resources, 2015 Consumer Confidence Report
- Rio Rancho Consumer Confidence Reports
- Roswell 2014 Consumer Confidence Report
- Santa Fe Water Quality Reports
Information for Private Well Owners
The NMED Drinking Water Bureau does not have statutory authority to monitor private well water. Please consult the resources on the Private Well Owners page on this website.