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Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. Blog

The Lead Free Mandate and How it Affects You

The New Year is a time of fresh beginnings and resolutions. And this year, 2014 will bring a significant change in the laws that affect your fresh drinking water. We at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. would like to share with you what the lead free mandate covers and what it will mean for you.

The Lead Free Mandate

On January 4, 2014, the Federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, originally signed on January 11, 2011, will go into effect. Also known as the “lead-free mandate,” it marks a major change in the definition of lead free in plumbing that is far stricter than current Federal requirements. A number of states—specifically California and Vermont—have already enacted tighter regulations on lead content in plumbing, and this is what originally prompted drafting a new law on the Federal level.

What exactly does the law entail?

The Federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act amends Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1986, which limited the use of lead pipes, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux that did not fit the definition of lead free. The current definition of lead free by the SDWA (1996 amended) is “not more than a weighted average of 8.0% lead.” The new law alters this so that lead free is now defined as “not more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.” A product that meets this requirement can be called “lead free”.

What kind of plumbing does this affect?

The term wetted parts refers to meters, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, flexible connectors, strainers, and assorted gauges, fittings, valves, etc. Essentially, any product used to convey water anticipated for human consumption, i.e. “potable water.” This doesn’t mean that all existing pipes need to be replaced, but that “any part used in the repair… must meet the new definition of lead free.” So any new parts used to make repairs to the plumbing that carries your drinking water after January 4 of next year must contain less than 0.25% lead.

Why is the reduction of lead beneficial?

The presence of lead in drinking water has potentially harmful effects. Lead has been linked to developmental delays in children and high blood pressure and kidney problems in adults.  The EPA identifies brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures as the main source of lead entering into drinking water. Reducing the amount of lead allowed in plumbing from 8% to 0.25% marks a major improvement in reducing lead content.

Who enforces this law?

The EPA is responsible for implementation, but actual enforcement will rest on the state level, which in turn will pass it on to cities, towns, and municipalities, which use health and plumbing codes to drive enforcement. Contractors who fail to comply with the new law will face fines or lawsuits.

You can trust to Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. to implement this new law into all our work. The job we do on your plumbing will be compliant with the new mandate so that you will have the lowest amount of lead content in your pipes as possible, whether for your home or your business. For more information about our Orlando area plumbing services, call 407-327-6000 today!

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