New Year, New Laws

Regulatory changes affecting the water industry in 2014

Whether you slept through the ball drop at midnight or yelled “Happy New Year!” with your friends and family, 2014 is well underway. With the new year came some new laws that everyone in the drinking water treatment industry we should be aware of. 

California Product Registration

Following the passage of Assembly Bill 119, which allows for third-party certification of water treatment products in California, the state implemented its new product registration program on Jan. 4, 2014. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released four documents containing important information for companies seeking to register products making health claims in the state: 

  1. 1. The official CDPH letter regarding registration of water treatment devices in the state of California;
  2. 2. The application for registration of a water treatment device in the state of California;
  3. 3. An unofficial list of water treatment devices valid in California as of the end of 2013; and
  4. 4. A worksheet summarizing the information required for registration of a product in California. 

If your company currently has products listed in California, CDPH has provided guidance on the steps you should take by Feb. 28, 2014, to maintain that registration. If your company is looking to add new products to the listing, the department also has provided guidance on how to pursue that listing. 

The documents listed above are available for download on the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) website. Kimberly Redden, regulatory and technical affairs coordinator for WQA, is available to answer any questions about third-party certification in California. Redden can be reached at [email protected] 

Federal Lead-Free Law

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act is finally in effect after a three-year transition phase. This new federal law covers the use and introduction of products into the following markets: lead pipe, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a summary of the requirements of the lead limit provisions and some answers to frequently asked questions regarding the law. A few key points taken from the summary follow. 

Applicability. The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act includes point-of-use and point-of-entry devices, but does not include standalone, non-plumbed appliances or devices, such as fire hydrants. Residential and nonresidential facilities with plumbing that supplies water for human consumption must meet the requirements of the law, except for pipe that is used in manufacturing or industrial processing.  Devices that were installed before the law became effective on Jan. 4, 2014, are given “grandfather” status. Pipe, fittings and fixtures installed before that date may be repaired without losing that status, assuming that the piece remains in place or is returned to its original location after being temporarily removed for repair.

Calculating Lead Content. A product is considered “lead-free” as long as it contains lead levels no higher than 0.25%; however, solder and flux cannot contain lead content higher than 0.2% and are evaluated separately. A product’s average lead content is calculated as follows: For each wetted component, the percentage of the lead in the component is multiplied by the ratio of the wetted surface area of that component to the total wetted surface area of the entire product. The weighted percentages of lead from each wetted component are added together, and the sum of these weighted percentages constitutes the weighted average of lead content in the product. 

Canadian Requirements. Low-lead requirements also are making their way into Canada’s plumbing code. CSA/ASME B125.1 and CSA B125.3 are expected to be revised to make them consistent with NSF/ANSI 61, which addresses the new U.S. law. 

Additional Resources. EPA released an informational handout titled, “How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Materials” to help companies identify products that are certified as lead-free. It also helps explain the new law and gives details on the different certification marks.

WQA offers lead-free testing and certification through its Gold Seal program to help companies show compliance to this new law. For more information on product testing and certification, contact Tina Donda, global business development manager for WQA, at [email protected].

WQA Aquatech USA 2014

OK, you caught me — this last item is not a law. However, it is still something you should be aware of in 2014. WQA Aquatech USA, WQA’s annual convention and exposition, will take place March 18 to 21. It will be located in sunny Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center. The exhibition will take place March 19 and 20. 

WQA Aquatech USA is a one-stop event that connects technologies, know-how, education, training, networking and business opportunities for water treatment professionals. It is where your industry and your association bring together in one place essential people, new ideas and innovative technology. It is a cost-effective way to develop relationships, learn about equipment and devices, and pick up business tips.

If you are interested in attending or exhibiting at the tradeshow, visit for more details. 

As we continue into 2014, may we remember the good from 2013, forget the bad, and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that a new year holds for each and every one of us. 

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About the author

Amy Reichel is Gold Seal sales and marketing associate and tradeshow specialist for the Water Quality Assn. Reichel can be reached at [email protected] or 630.505.0287.