Ask the Expert, EHS Management

ATE: Lead in Drinking Water

Q. Regarding the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act: In the FAQ guidance from EPA, I cannot find any mention of water meters. Are they exempt?

A. Water meters are not exempt under the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act which amended the SDWA to change the definition of ‘lead-free’ by lowering permissible lead content from 8% to not more than 0.25% in “wetted surface material.” “Wetted surface materials” are those that come into contact with potable water, and water meters fall under this definition. The new lead-free requirement came into force on January 4, 2014.

Under the SDWA amendment, new meters, as well as replacement parts installed into existing meters, installed after January 4, 2014 must meet the new definition of “lead free.” If a previously installed meter needs to be replaced, it must be replaced by a meter which complies with the lead-free requirement.

Water meters installed prior to January 4, 2014 do not need to be replaced, so long as they comply with the lead free requirements in force at the time of installation.