Industry Encouraged to Comment on Major EPA Lead Law Changes

Comments and ideas must be submitted to EPA by Aug. 31

epa drinking water lead regulations

The Water Quality Assn. (WQA) is encouraging industry members to make their voices heard by the end of the month on major changes to the lead content regulation being put forward by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is looking for suggestions on how to implement numerous aspects of the law, which takes effect in 2014.

“The effects of this law on our industry could be profound,” said Dave Haataja, WQA executive director. “We should take advantage of this opportunity to help shape how it works. How this law is put into place could significantly affect the bottom line for a long time.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. It is a major amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The law essentially requires lead content of “not more than a weighted average of 0.25% when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes and pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures.”

Regulators are looking into how companies will prove their products are compliant. Suggestions are to require third-party certification or require manufacturers to publically display proof of compliance. However, EPA is open to other suggestions as well.

Questions also exist as to how compliant products will be identified in the field by inspectors. EPA recognizes the issue of consistently marking products to show they meet the new low lead regulation. 

EPA would like to establish uniform marking requirements so the low lead-compliant products can be easily identified in the field.

The regulation does contain exemptions for products that are not meant to carry drinkable water, but EPA is concerned with dual product lines or interchangeable products for potable and nonpotable applications that may cause confusion in the marketplace and in the field. The focus will be on how these products will be marked to show they are not to be used for potable water to prevent misuse.

Other questions to be resolved by EPA include how replacement parts will be covered by the act, how exactly to measure lead content, state enforcement burdens and time frames for regulation enforcement.

Industry comments and ideas must be submitted to EPA by Aug. 31. Anyone with supporting or negative comments on why any or all of these proposed ideas should not be implemented are encouraged to take a moment to comment. Comments should be directed to [email protected].

Water Quality Assn.

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