Safe drinking water is at the top of our government’s list for health and safety, especially for our children. The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission is to protect human health and the environment. The EPA ensures that federal laws that protect human health and the environment are administered and enforced fairly and effectively.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
One of the top priorities for the EPA is protecting America’s safe drinking water supply. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), initially passed in 1974 by Congress, was established to preserve the quality of drinking water in the United States. The law was amended in 1986 and 1996.
The SDWA focuses on both above-ground and underground water sources that are actually or potentially designed for drinking use. SDWA authorizes EPA to set national health-based standards for drinking water to protect it against both naturally occurring and artificial contaminants. The US EPA, states, and water systems work to ensure these standards are met. (SDWA, 2020)
The National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) are primary standards and treatment techniques applicable to public water systems. The regulations are legally enforced, and they protect public health by limiting the contaminant levels in drinking water. (NPDWR, 2021)
The EPA is publishing final regulatory revisions to the NPDWR under the authority of the SDWA for lead and copper. This will provide effective public health protection by reducing lead and copper exposure in drinking water. For the first time, the rule requires community water systems to conduct testing for lead in drinking water and public education in schools and child care facilities.
As part of the SDWA, EPA has set treatment requirements and maximum contaminant levels for more than 90 contaminants. Two such chemical contaminants that are harmful to health are lead and copper. EPA has issued the Lead and Copper Rule or LCR under the authority of the SDWA to address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water. One requirement of this rule is corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from contaminating the drinking water supply.
How Does Lead Get Into the Water?
The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, fixtures, and faucets soldered with lead joints, especially in homes and facilities built before 1986. Lead enters drinking water when plumbing materials containing lead corrode. Corrosion is the process in which the metal may dissolve or wear away due to a chemical reaction between the water and your plumbing. Several factors determine the extent to which lead enters the water, such as the temperature of the water, amount of wear in the pipes, the amount of lead it comes in contact with, etc.
What Are the Health Effects of Being Exposed to Lead In Water?
According to the EPA, lead can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. This is why EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal of this toxic metal at zero.
Physical and behavioral effects such as learning disabilities, impaired hearing, or impaired formation and function of blood cells can occur in young children, infants, and even fetuses due to lead exposure.
In children, low levels of lead in the blood can lead to lower IQ, behavior and learning problems, anemia, etc.
Exposure to lead in adults can result in decreased kidney function, cardiovascular effects, reproductive problems, etc. (Lead in Drinking Water, 2020)
Lead Testing In Texas Schools and Childcare Facilities
Texas’ public water systems employ measures to ensure that they provide safe drinking water. However, lead could leach into a school’s drinking water from plumbing materials and fixtures within the school. This lead could then move through the school’s water distribution system and put children’s health at risk.
Texas will soon begin a program that will test drinking water in roughly 25,000 schools and child care facilities across the state. This move comes due to an update to federal standards on lead and copper exposure. (Douglas, 2021)
What TDT Plumbing Is Doing to Fight Lead Leaching
How do you know if your drinking water is safe? There are testing processes that will measure for the contaminant. It’s why we are considered “pipe forensic” specialists. Clean water is what we do.
TDT Plumbing’s LeadSmart program uses a unique lead remediation process to create safe drinking water. It has revolutionized how homes and buildings test tap water for lead and make water safe to drink. The EPA-approved LeadSmart program uses on-site water testing equipment and methods for testing lead in drinking water. It also helps to identify the lead contributors and offers a plan for corrective actions.
Whether it is homes, schools, hospitals, or office buildings, aging plumbing can expose water to lead and copper. TDT Plumbing is Texas’ first LeadSmart Water Testing Provider, and this program is covered by over 40 U.S. and international patents.
Helpful Safe Drinking Water Guide
TDT has put together a guide on what you need to know about the SDWA. You can get a PDF copy of the guide by downloading it here:
Call us at (713) 697-2088 to reach a trained TDT LeadSmart specialist or contact us to schedule your LeadSmart Water Testing. We’re happy to help!
SDWA, EPA. “Overview of the Safe Drinking Water Act.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 14 Jan. 2020,
NPDWR, EPA. “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 5 Jan. 2021,
Lead in Drinking Water. “Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 9 Dec. 2020,
Douglas, Erin. “Texas Prepares to Test for Lead in Schools’ Drinking Water for the First Time.” The Texas Tribune, The Texas Tribune, 28 Jan. 2021,