New Lead-Free Requirements
Congress revised the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2011 regarding the use and introduction into commerce of lead pipes, plumbing fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. Based upon this revision, effective January 4, 2014, public water systems must use pipes, fittings or fixtures that are in contact with potable water to meet new lead-free requirements. The definition of “lead-free” was revised from 8% to 0.25%, along with a statutory method to calculate the lead content, and manufacturers must now meet the new definition for their products. Some exclusions apply to devices such as fire hydrants, toilets, and bidets. Plumbing installed prior to January 4, 2014, does not need to be replaced so long as the plumbing met the previous definition.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has answered a number of questions regarding the new requirements and most of the questions and answers can be found online at http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/upload/epa815s13003.pdf. If you are the owner, operator, or the public works director for a Public Water System, it is recommended that you review the FAQs regarding what constitutes “lead-free” and how it affects your water system moving forward.
Additional information related to your Public Water System can be found on the DEQ PWS Switchboard.