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Get the Facts
If you live or do business in the United States you should already have made the transition to Lead Free for applications involving potable water. The new federal mandate, which took effect January 4, 2014, applies to any water intended for human consumption. If you haven’t completed your transition, however, here are some helpful guidelines for managing the changeover.
Make a plan
For engineers, your Lead Free transition plan involves several very important steps:
- Have your suppliers made the transition in full, and do they have a full line of Lead Free products to meet your requirements? Check to ensure those products have been certified as Lead Free by an independent source such as NSF. If you’re not comfortable with their answers you may want to consider changing suppliers.
- You’ll need updated Lead Free product specs, CAD details, and literature from manufacturers. You should also confirm that the new Lead Free products are functionally and dimensionally the same as their standard counterparts.
For Plumbing contractors, follow these important steps:
- Ensure your distributor or product source is stocking Lead Free products.
- Purge any standard product inventory on your trucks or in your warehouse. Remember, it’s now illegal to install standard products for potable water consumption.
- Talk with your distributor’s customer service department regarding any questions on stock changeover, compliance, or potential price changes.
- Confirm that the new Lead Free products are functionally and dimensionally the same as their standard counterparts.
Here is a roadmap to consider:
Planning your move to Lead Free*
- Identify those products that are affected, which includes all plumbing products that convey water for human consumption.
- Of those products, determine which already comply with Lead Free* regulations.
Products that don't comply will have to be switched to Lead Free* versions prior to the effective date of the new requirements.
- Update product specifications and details
- Review your current project list and determine projects that will be constructed after their area's Lead Free* deadline
- Update your purchasing system with new model numbers and prices
- Review your inventory for non-compliant products and determine when will be the best time to make the change
Answer these questions
Identify which products are affected, including any products that convey water for human consumption. Then determine which products already comply with the new national Lead Free regulations and which don’t.
Any products that don’t comply should be changed to Lead Free immediately. Update your purchasing system with new model and/or SKU numbers and prices (if necessary).
Review your inventory for non-compliant products and determine a timeline for your changeover.
Make the Change
Now you’re ready to transition all or parts of your business to Lead Free.
For Plumbing contractors, this may have a significant logistical impact requiring substantial time and/or resources to implement depending on the size of your on-truck inventory.
For engineers, this will impact your product specs by requiring additional product information that clearly differentiates the new Lead Free products from standard ones.
It is important to stress the need for stringent quality/process control as:
- It is now illegal to introduce into commerce or install any plumbing product that is not Lead Free* for use with potable water.
The potential penalties for non-compliance are:
- Callbacks and the cost of removing and/or replacing installed illegal product
- Lawsuits from private parties and/or governmental agencies.
Watts Water Technologies and its companies are committed to working with you to make the transition as smooth as possible. Contact your local authorized brand representative(s) to discuss your transition plans.