The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act is now fully in effect as of January 4, 2014. This affects all water treatment equipment and backflow devices (RPZ devices) that we sell and service. Fortunately for our customers, nearly all of the water treatment equipment installed in the last 15 years by us have been lead-free – generally made out of durable plastics – so impacts on our water treatment customers are minimal. Check valves and RPZ devices are also impacted, as most repair parts will eventually be lead-free. All replacement devices are required to be lead-free. This will impact the cost and availability of these parts and devices substantially, as many retailers are still trying to acquire good inventory levels of certified lead-free parts and devices. Many people have already seen as this change since it has been phased in over the past three years.
If anyone would like to have their water tested for lead, please contact us. If the plumbing in your home or business is copper piping and installed prior to 1985 (when lead was removed from solder), then this is highly recommended.
Excerpted from Water Quality Association eNews – January 10, 2014:
“The three-year transition period for the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, enacted on January 4, 2011, ended on January 4, 2014, and all of the changes have become law. The new law covers the use and introduction into commerce of lead pipes, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. In anticipation of these changes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a summary of the requirements of the lead ban provisions and some answers to frequently ask questions regarding the law.
Here are a few key points:
Point-of-use and point-of-entry devices are subject to the Act’s requirements. However, standalone, non-plumbed appliances or devices, including fire hydrants, are not. The requirements of the law apply to residential and nonresidential facilities with plumbing that supplies water for human consumption, except for pipe that is used in manufacturing or industrial processing. Any device installed prior to the Act’s effective date-January 4, 2014, is granted “grandfather” status. Pipes, fittings and fixtures installed prior to the effective date may also be repaired without losing said status. Provided that the piece remains in place, or is returned to the same location after being temporarily removed for repair, it will remain exempt from the provisions of the Act.
Calculating Lead Content
The Act defines a product as “lead-free” if it contains lead levels no higher than 0.25%. Solder and flux are evaluated separately and cannot exceed 0.2% in lead content. The average lead content in a product 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 percentage of lead from each wetted component is added together, and the sum of these weighted percentages constitutes the weighted average of lead content in the product.
Canada has also added low-lead requirements to its plumbing code. CSA/ASME standard B125.1 and CSA B125.3 are expected to be amended to make them consistent with NSF 61 Annex G, which addresses the new U.S. law. Concerns have been expressed about “lead dumping” in Canada in light of the U.S. law.
The EPA has also released an informational handout to help companies identify products that are certified as lead-free. Titled “How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Materials,” it explains the new law and details of the certification marks, in addition to other crucial information.”