Falls Church, Va. — A consortium of plumbing manufacturers and industry trade associations met in Chicago on August 30, 2012, at the invitation of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation. The purpose of this unique meeting was 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. The bill becomes effective January 4, 2014.
What is the new law?
The law reduces the permissible levels of lead in wetted surfaces of faucets, pipes and pipe fittings to 0.25% from the previous national standard of 8.0% 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 upon the template of a California law generally referred to as AB 1953. Prior to the federal legislation, Vermont, Maryland and Louisiana have 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. Launch date is January 2013.
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 was: American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), American Supply Association (ASA), the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), Kohler Company, NIBCO INC., Reliance Worldwide, T & S Brass and Bronze Works, Inc., Viega, LLC and Watts Water Technologies.