On January 4, 2014, the "Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act" becomes effective nationwide. This amendment to the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act reduces the allowable lead content of drinking water pipes, pipe fittings and other plumbing fixtures. Specifically, as of January 4, 2014, it shall be illegal to install pipes, pipe fittings, and other plumbing fixtures that are not "lead free." "Lead free" is defined as restricting the permissible levels of lead in the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, other plumbing fittings and fixtures to a weighted average of not more than 0.25%. This new requirement does not apply to pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures that are used exclusively for non-potable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption. The law also excludes toilets, bidets, urinals, fill valves, flushometer valves, tub fillers, shower valves, service saddles, or water distribution main gate valves that are 2 inches in diameter or larger.
Pursuant to 248 CMR 3.04, only products and materials that have been listed by the Board as Product-accepted shall be used for plumbing and gas fitting work performed in the Commonwealth. Accordingly, effective January 4, 2014, only Board accepted products that are "lead free" may be utilized with regards to any plumbing providing water for human consumption (unless meeting the exception outlined above). Installers and inspectors may check their products to determine if they meet these requirements by looking to see if the products are certified to the following standards:
A. NSF/ANSI 61-G;
B. NSF/ANSI 61, section 9-G; OR
C. Both NSF/ANSI 61 AND NSF/ANSI 372.
As existing products may still be utilized for non-potable purposes, the Board is not withdrawing product acceptance from any products at this time. However, the burden of following these requirements shall be on installers. Plumbing inspectors (who will be covering these requirements in continuing education) shall have the right to question installers, who must be able to prove that no non-compliant products are installed on or after January 4, 2014.