Congress enacted the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986 on June 19, 1986. Two key sections of this law constitute the "lead ban" in drinking water systems. The key provision of these sections is a Prohibition of the use, in public water systems, of pipe, solder, or flux that is not "lead free."
The EPA Lead and Copper Rule became effective December 7, 1992. This rule requires water systems to sample the homeowner’s tap to ascertain the levels of Lead and Copper which may be present. Lead enters drinking water mainly from the corrosion of lead-containing household plumbing. Since lead and copper contamination generally occurs after water has left the water system, the best way for the water system operator to find out if customer water is contaminated is to test water that has come from a household faucet.
Under the Lead and Copper Rule, the City of Lakeland initially identified what EPA referred to as Tier 1 homes. These are homes that were built between 1982 and 1986 which had copper plumbing joined together by lead solder prior to the "lead ban". These homes would potentially have the greatest probability of Lead and Copper contamination. The City of Lakeland was required to identify and sample 100 homes with the Tier 1 criteria.
The EPA set "Action Levels" for lead and copper results. An "Action Level" of .015 milligrams per liter was set for Lead and 1.3 milligrams per liter was set for copper. The rule requires treatment when results exceeded these "Action Levels."
The City of Lakeland did not exceed the "Action Levels" in the 1993 initial sampling of 100 Tier 1 homes. Lakeland was then allowed to go to "Reduced Monitoring" under the rule. Reduced monitoring allows systems without any exceedance to reduce the number of samples from 100 to 50. Every three years 50 samples are required to be collected and analyzed for Lead and Copper contamination.
Water treated by the City of Lakeland has a carefully balanced pH to prevent corroding distribution pipes and plumbing. This lessens the possibility of lead and copper contamination.
Lakeland’s most recent analysis was conducted in 2017. The following are the sample results from the 50 Tier 1 tested homes (all units are milligrams per liter):
||50 Sample Average
The EPA set "Action Levels" for lead and copper results. The "Action Level" for Lead was set at .015 mg/L and copper was set at 1.3 mg/L.
The next Lead and Copper scheduled analysis is in 2020.