At the invitation of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation, the American Society of Plumbing Engineer (ASPE) joined numerous plumbing manufacturers and industry associations at the kickoff meeting of a consortium assembled to develop strategies to alert and prepare industry constituents for upcoming changes in the allowable level of lead in plumbing products.
The federal “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act” was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011, and the bill becomes effective January 4, 2014. The law reduces the permissible levels of lead in wetted surfaces of faucets, pipes, and pipe fittings to 0.25 percent from the previous national standard of 8 percent maximum. While many manufacturers in the plumbing industry were already meeting these reduced standards, the plumbing industry supports the uniform national standard to harmonize requirements, avoiding a patchwork of requirements across the country. The federal law was spearheaded by Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), based on the template of a California law generally referred to as AB 1953. Prior to the federal legislation, Vermont, Maryland, and Louisiana also individually adopted the lower lead mandate.
The mission of the Consortium is to provide widespread education about the manufacture, distribution, and installation of lead-free* plumbing products.
Contractors/apprentices, distributors, plumbing engineers, and code officials are the targets of the comprehensive communications plan. The multi-pronged outreach strategy includes industry trade press events, a website, training programs, support materials including a “Frequently Asked Questions” guide, and educational events at various industry conventions. In addition to compliance guidelines, the content of the messaging will also focus on business and legal implications of the new legislation.
The concept for the communications outreach and training consortium evolved from the PHCC Educational Foundation Board of Directors. In addition to PHCC, representing the industry at the kick-off meeting were ASPE, American Supply Association, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, PMI, Kohler Company, NIBCO Inc., Reliance Worldwide, T&S Brass and Bronze Works Inc., Viega LLC, and Watts Water Technologies.
“It is rewarding to see such an unprecedented level of industry collaboration on this national initiative,” said Cindy Sheridan, Chief Operating Officer, PHCC Educational Foundation, and facilitator of the historic meeting. “Information and understanding are critical to compliance. We are delighted that so many key volunteers accepted our invitation for this important gathering.”
*Lead-free refers to the wetted surface of pipe, fittings, and fixtures in potable water systems that have a weighted average lead content less than or equal to 0.25 percent per the Safe Drinking Water Act (Sec. 1417) amended 1-4-2011 and other equivalent state regulations.