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IAPMO Applauds Washington State Legislature’s Passage of Bill Requiring Standards for On-Site Non-Potable Water Systems

IAPMO applauds the Washington State Legislature for passing HB 1184, requiring the development of risk-based water quality standards for on-site non-potable water systems. The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.

HB 1184 instructs the Department of Health (DOH), in consultation with the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) and the Washington State Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, to develop and adopt rules by Jan. 1, 2022. The bill specifically calls for the groups to develop detailed, risk-based water quality standards for on-site treatment and reuse of non-potable alternative water sources for non-potable end uses, as well as construction standards to adopt the risk-based framework of water quality standards.

“Water is essential to our lives and we are running out of it,” said Rep. Davina Duerr, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This common-sense little bill will do big things when it comes to water and climate change. Right now, we treat all water as if it’s drinking water, even if it’s for irrigation. This legislation takes pressure off our limited drinking water supply by creating statewide standards for the safe, efficient and voluntary reuse of non-drinking water at commercial buildings and multifamily housing. This also means we can collect rainwater for non-potable uses, and that’s just common sense. This will save water, save energy, and save money. And I think my grandmother, who survived the Great Depression and used to reuse Christmas wrapping paper, would be proud.”

IAPMO is a strong supporter of HB 1184 and the state’s efforts to promote on-site water reuse.

“We congratulate the state of Washington and legislators for making the bold decision protect freshwater resources, reduce the strain on drinking water providers, and provide a safe and effective way to create usable and safe non-potable water for use in buildings throughout Washington,” said Robyn Fischer, director of Government Relations. “Reusing graywater and blackwater for non-potable use can help the state safeguard limited freshwater supplies for drinking water and agriculture and is an effective way to help communities increase water and wastewater resilience, while also reducing energy consumption.”

The AIA Washington Council, a state chapter of The American Institute of Architects, also applauded the bill’s passage.

“With our focus on sustainability and deep green building, AIA Washington Council was pleased to work with Rep. Duerr on this important bill to provide state standards for on-site non-potable water systems in commercial and multifamily buildings,” Kirsten Smith, manager of Policy and Advocacy, said. “Water resiliency is an increasingly important issue in Washington, and these new rules will support water reuse systems that stretch water supplies across the state, reducing both stormwater impacts and energy consumption.”

IAPMO works diligently to ensure people all over the world have access to clean water and safe sanitary systems, particularly with its development of the Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard (WE•Stand), the first-ever American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard that focuses solely on achieving safe and efficient water use in residential and non-residential buildings. The standard is developed by leading industry experts representing government, code officials, manufacturers, engineers, contractors, academia, water efficiency proponents, and related organizations. 

The 2020 WE•Stand, the second edition of the standard, contains the latest comprehensive provisions to achieve safer and more reliable water efficiencies in and around buildings. WE•Stand contains provisions such as on-site stormwater, graywater, and blackwater treatment systems, all of which address water quality, monitoring, system design, construction, and commissioning requirements. Additionally, these provisions set requirements on the operation, repair and alteration of the systems, as well as risk-based monitoring requirements based on the use of the treated water. 

“Washington state’s pursuit of rules to ensure safe utilization of alternative water resources is an important step toward more advanced water management,” Fischer added. “IAPMO stands ready to support the state’s efforts as the rulemaking process evolves.”

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