This editorial letter originally appeared in WWD November 2021 issue as "No More Waiting, LCRR is Here"
By the time you read this, the Lead & Copper Rule Revision (LCRR) effective date will be quickly approaching on Dec. 16, 2021. Starting on this date, utilities will need to begin their plan toward compliance, the deadline for which has been proposed for Sept. 16, 2024.
Earlier this year, we published an article about what was in the revision by highlighting six core elements of the LCRR framework: action and trigger level changes for copper and lead, sample site collection and monitoring, lead service line replacement, testing in schools and daycares, reporting to the public, and funding and financing options. Of these six elements, experts have been steadfast on specific ways to begin preparing for this new rule ahead of the effective and compliance dates.
First, begin a review of service lines within your network to identify those with lead materials that would need to be replaced. Upon identifying those areas, develop a plan for how your utility can tackle the replacement of those service lines. Share the information with your transportation or roads department. It is possible some of its full-dig projects correlate with the lead service lines that need to be replaced. Coordinating your project with theirs could save time, money and energy for both departments by digging once for both projects.
Secondly, look into your communications strategy about this rule. Once the service line areas for replacement have been identified, hold meetings with community stakeholders and leaders such as pastors, school principals and business leaders. Educate them on why you are doing the work. If they hear from you first, they trust you. If they hear from you last, that trust will likely have eroded. Get in front of the media and show why you’re the expert on this matter in your community.
And lastly, hard choices on sampling and schools and daycares will need to be made. Be forward with your school leaders and with parents about the timeline for what you can accomplish. Communication here will be critical, so be mindful, compassionate and earnest.
These are just a few pieces of advice I’ve heard over the past 10 months about how to begin tackling this rule. There is more to the revision than what I can say here, so be sure to visit our website and sign up for our newsletters on the latest guidance and advice as you work toward compliance with your utility.