EPA Lead Pipe Regulation Update: What it Means for Plumbers

On July 29, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the “Use of Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder, and Flux for Drinking Water” ruling. The purpose of this rule is to reduce lead in drinking water by giving states, manufacturers, inspectors, and consumers a uniform definition of “Lead Free” plumbing.

Under this rule, “lead free” means not more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, and fixture. The rule also requires not more than 0.2% lead when used with respect to solder and flux.

This rule changes existing regulations based on the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) and the Community Fire Safety Act enacted by Congress. With the inclusion of this rule, RLDWA now requires manufacturers or importers to certify that their products meet the requirements using a consistent verification process within three years of the final rule publication date.

The new rule added the following products to the exemption list:

  • Clothes washing machines
  • Emergency drench showers
  • Emergency face wash equipment
  • Eyewash devices
  • Fire suppression sprinklers
  • Steam capable clothes dryers
  • Sump pumps

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