Oct 12, 2012

Industry Leaders Form "Get the Lead Out" Plumbing Consortium

The consortium will provide education about the manufacture, distribution and installation of lead free plumbing products

PMI Lead Removal Plumbing Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association

A consortium of plumbing manufacturers and industry trade associations met in Chicago on Aug. 30, 2012, at the invitation of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation. The purpose of this meeting was to develop strategies to alert and prepare industry constituents for upcoming changes in the allowable level of lead in plumbing products. President Obama signed the federal “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act” into law on Jan. 4, 2011. The bill becomes effective Jan. 4, 2014.

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 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. “Lead free” refers to the wetted surface of pipe, fittings and fixtures in potable water systems that have a weighted average lead content <=0.25% per the Safe Drinking Water Act (Sec. 1417) amended Jan. 4, 2011 and other equivalent state regulations.

Contractors/apprentices, distributors, plumbing engineers and code officials are the intended audience of the comprehensive communications plan. The multi-pronged outreach strategy includes industry media outreach, 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 focus on business and legal implications of the new legislation. The launch date is January 2013.

The concept for the communications outreach and training consortium evolved from the PHCC Educational Foundation’s board of directors. In addition to PHCC, representing the industry at the kick-off meeting was: American Society of Plumbing Engineers, American Supply Association, the 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.