Home >

Lead in Drinking Water

What we track

Blue Accounting is sharing the level of consistency among governments as they adopt select policies to reduce population exposure to lead in drinking water.

Water distribution systems and lead

After treatment, drinking water must be distributed to water customers through piping owned by the drinking water supplier to the privately-owned plumbing lines of homes and businesses. Lead may be released from lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures with these materials most likely found in housing stock built before 1986. In the United States, drinking water systems are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The rule governing how systems are to address lead and copper within distribution piping were revised, although US-EPA has acknowledged that more should be done.

Why it matters

There is no safe level of lead in a child’s blood. As such, in the United States, the non-enforceable health goal, known as the “maximum contaminant level goal” is zero. Lead accumulates in our bodies over time with children particularly at risk for potential disabilities. The US-EPA estimates that drinking water may account for 20% or more of a person’s total exposure to lead. Additional sources of lead include paint, dust, soil, air, and even food.

US-EPA website accessed on May 20, 2022

Lead Inventory Status by Jurisdiction


This policy comparison includes current policies from each of the Great Lakes states and provinces, the GLLC model policy, the LCRR and the LCRI. It provides a broad overview of the various policies that are currently required or that EPA and the states/provinces are looking into.


Jurisdiction/model adopts this policy indicator

Jurisdiction/model does not adopt this policy indicator

Jurisdiction/model partially adopts this policy indicator

Policy IndicatorAction level exceedances must be reported to consumerTesting results must be reported to local public health agenciesSchools and Childcare facilities required to test for leadAction level at or below 12ppbAction level at or below 5ppb in schools and daycare centersService line material inventory requiredPartial LSLR Prohibited
New York
GLLC Model Policy

LCRR: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions

LCRI: Lead and Copper Rule Improvements

GLLC: Great Lakes Legislative Caucus

LSL: Lead service line