A consortium of plumbing manufacturers and industry trade associations met in Chicago on Aug. 30. 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 Jan. 4, 2011. The bill becomes effective Jan. 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, based upon the template of a California law generally referred to as AB 1953. Prior to the federal legislation, Vermont, Maryland and Louisiana also have 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 multipronged 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 also will focus on business and legal implications of the new legislation. The launch date is January 2013.

For more information on “Get the Lead Out,” please contact ASA Director of Government AffairsDan Hiltonat 703/328-5234 or atdhilton@asa.net.

*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 1-4-2011 and other equivalent state regulations.