Graham Sustainability Institute

Supporting Implementation of Michigan’s Revised Lead and Copper Rule

Lead Copper Rule Project

In June 2018, Michigan adopted the country’s strictest Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). The primary changes include reducing the lead action level from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 12 ppb, requiring a lead service line inventory by each water utility and full lead service line replacement for all Michigan properties over the next 20 years, and significantly modified the water sampling protocol. The goal of the revised LCR is to safeguard public health from lead exposure through drinking water. 
See: What changed with Michigan's 2018 Lead and Copper Rule

Implementing the rule will be challenging. Cities and towns need to determine how to fund lead service line replacement. Water utilities need to update and learn new protocols. Citizens are uncertain about what the new rule means for public health and where they can find trusted information about lead in drinking water. 
See: Michigan Lead and Copper Rule changes Frequently Asked Questions.

This project partners faculty and students from the University of Michigan Schools of Public Health, Engineering, and Public Policy, and Safe Water Engineering, Inc. to support implementation of the revised LCR.

This multi-disciplinary team is providing:

  • The most up-to-date science-based information about lead in drinking water generally, and the revised LCR specifically, for municipal leaders, community groups, and other engaged citizens;
  • Information for water utilities on options for funding their lead service line replacement programs; and
  • Technical assistance to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) as it supports cities and towns in complying with the new LCR requirements.

A multi-sector advisory group is providing guidance and insights to the project team throughout the project. The advisory group includes representatives from community organizations, cities and townships, water utilities, state agencies, and non-profit organizations who have a role in implementing the revised LCR. The advisory group is identifying the range of issues and questions being raised about the revised Lead and Copper Rule and its implementation, so the project team can be as responsive as possible to public needs related to the revised rule.

Project Team Members

  • Jennifer Read, Water Center, Graham Sustainability Institute,, 734-769-8898
  • Elin Betanzo, Safe Water Engineering, LLC
  • Rita Loch-Caruso, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health
  • Teresa Olson, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
  • Sarah Mills, Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • Stephanie Leiser, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy