City of Santa Rosa > Departments > Utilities > Water > Water Quality > Lead and Copper Rule Information


The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), which is part of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), was established in 1991. The goal of the LCR is to provide maximum health protection in public drinking water supplies by reducing lead and copper at consumer's taps. The LCR mandates that community water systems, like Santa Rosa, conduct periodic monitoring and initiate corrosion control measures to ensure compliance with the LCR.

Lead and copper are rarely detected in most drinking water supplies. However, these metals are a concern to consumers because some household plumbing fixtures may contain lead or copper and corrosive waters may leach (pick up) lead and copper from household plumbing pipes after entering a home. This is a greater issue for older houses (i.e., houses built before 1986, if the plumbing system has not been replaced) than for newer houses. The most common reason for water utilities to add corrosion inhibitors is to avoid lead and copper corrosion with older homes, and the second most common reason is to minimize corrosion of pipes in the distribution system.

In 1994, the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) conducted a corrosion control study that indicated a pH adjustment of the water with sodium hydroxide could reduce the corrosiveness of the water. Since 1995, SCWA has been using the sodium hydroxide as pH adjustment, and it has proven to reduce corrosion of metal pipes.

The City of Santa Rosa monitors for pH and alkalinity every two weeks throughout the year to ensure proper corrosion control levels. We also conduct residential "tap" sampling every three years. Tap sampling is performed by the City's water quality staff at a participating residential customer whose home was constructed between 1982 and 1986; just before lead in solder was significantly reduced by an amendment to the SDWA in 1986. 2013 was the last time lead and copper tap samples were taken at 50 residences in Santa Rosa. The sample results were below the 90th percentile Action Levels for lead (15 parts per billion) and copper (1300 parts per billion). The next round of Lead and Copper sampling will take place during the summer of 2016.

More information can be found on the:

EPA web site at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead/index.html

California Department of Public Health web site at:  http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/Pages/Chemicalcontaminants.aspx

Sonoma County Water Agency web site at: http://www.sonomacountywater.org/lower.php?url=water-supply

Santa Rosa's most recent Water Quality Report can be found here.