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Congress Passes Legislation Reducing Lead in Drinking Water

December 23, 2010
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The legislation reduces the lead standard for pipes, pipe fittings and plumbing fittings from as much as 8.0 percent to 0.25 percent across the nation, and provides for a 36-month implementation period.

Prior to the final adjournment of the 111th Congress, the U.S. Senate approved the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Bill (S. 3874) by unanimous consent, followed by the House of Representatives approving the bill on a 226-109 vote.

The legislation provides for a 36-month implementation period, after which time manufacturers and importers will be required to comply with the new, consistent standard. This uniformly reduces the lead standard for pipes, pipe fittings and plumbing fittings from as much as 8.0 percent to 0.25 percent across the nation, which is consistent with the current laws in California, Vermont and Maryland.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and other bipartisan representatives sponsored the bill. The Plumbing Manufacturers International group and its members worked with the bipartisan leadership of the Environment & Public Works Committee, which spurred the introduction and approval of S. 3874.

This included previously approved language from the Assistance, Quality and Affordability Bill of 2010 (H.R. 5320), but as a stand-alone bill that imposed no cost to the federal government.

“It is an exciting victory, primarily for consumers, and also for the plumbing manufacturing industry, as well as for wholesalers, retailers, contractors and others involved with the production, distribution, sales and installation of these products,” said PMI Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens. “The effort reinforces our commitment to protecting the future of our national and local water supply through water-efficient plumbing products and practices that provide clean, safe, drinking water.”

The legislation was cleared Dec. 17 for President Obama’s signature.

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