FALLS CHURCH, VA. — The Get The Lead Out Plumbing Consortium started off the new year with its first training webinar, sponsored by the PHCC Educational Foundation, which was attended by more than 300 industry professionals. The webinar, which was held on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, helped industry professionals further understand the federal Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, which becomes effective on Jan. 4, 2014.

During the webinar, Aaron Edds, valve product manager at Nibco Inc. and member of the Get The Lead Out Plumbing Consortium, discussed the new lead free law, how it came to be, interpretation issues relevant to the law, manufacturing issues surrounding the development of new lead free products, installation considerations and how to prepare for implementation of the law. Lead free refers to <0.25% weighted average lead content in relation to wetted surface of pipe, fittings, and fixtures in systems delivering water for human consumption.

Edds noted that the California, Vermont, Maryland and Louisiana state laws apply to any product “intended”to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking while the federal law applies to any product used in systems where water is “anticipated” to be used for human consumption.

“With all the laws on the books in the states and at the federal level it’s important to understand the potential implications of the laws,” said Edds. “The federal law could be interpreted to cover a much broader group of products than state law.”

Edds also pointed out to participants that the final EPA regulations likely will not be issued before the Jan. 4, 2014, implementation date.

“The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act authorizes the U.S. EPA to develop regulations for implementation of the law, and regulations must go through a formal development and approval process that allows for a public comment period, and that process is time consuming,” said Edds. “It is likely that final regulations won’t be issued before the implementation date, so that will leave the local authority having jurisdiction to make the final interpretation.”

It’s not surprising that participants had many questions when Edds was done with the hour-long presentation. Will importing manufacturers have their products certified lead free at time of manufacturing or before delivery? When a water main has a branch feeding the potable supply and another branch feeding a hydronic boiler heating system, would the backflow preventer require compliance? If you repair a system or have a renovation that adds to a system, do you have to update the entire system to comply with the new law? These questions and many more are answered on the consortium’s website at www.gettheleadoutplumbing.com

“It was gratifying to see such a large cross-section of the plumbing industry join us for the webinar,” said Cindy Sheridan, COO of the PHCC Educational Foundation. “Education and understanding are critical to help insure a smooth transition to the use of lead free products by Jan. 4, 2014.”

To view the entire webinar and a copy of the presentation, along with a list of upcoming training sessions, go to www.gettheleadoutplumbing.com. Sessions will also be conducted by consortium members at industry events throughout 2013.

The Get The Lead Out Plumbing Consortium, a cross section of the plumbing industry comprised of trade associations and manufacturers, was founded in 2012. Its mission is to provide widespread education about the manufacture, distribution and installation of Lead Free plumbing products. Members of the consortium include American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), American Supply Association (ASA), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), International Code Council (ICC), Legend Valve, Milwaukee Valve, Nibco Inc., Plumbing-Cooling-Contractors National Association (PHCC),  Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association Educational Foundation, Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), Reliance Worldwide, Viega LLC and Watts Water Technologies.