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Reps. Cartwright, Gonzalez Introduce Bill to Improve and Modernize Water Infrastructure

Last week U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) introduced the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Plumbing Research Act to improve the safety, water efficiency and reliability of our plumbing systems.

"Americans are investing in more advanced household products to conserve water and save money on utility bills, but the plumbing that carries water to our homes and businesses has not kept pace." said Rep. Cartwright. "By ensuring our water infrastructure keeps up with the newest technology, consumers will save money, lessen their exposure to health risks and benefit from the latest water-conserving innovations."

"Ensuring that Northeast Ohioans have access to clean water and proper infrastructure is incredibly important," said Rep. Gonzalez. "The NIST Plumbing Research Act would designate a laboratory to research premise plumbing in relation to water safety, security, efficiency, sustainability, and resilience to bring our water infrastructure into the 21st century. Northeast Ohioans should not have to worry about whether or not their water is clean, and I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will have a positive impact on our community."

The research and data behind the U.S. plumbing structure, design and construction standards have barely changed since they were established in the early 20th century. As a result, even new plumbing systems are often inefficient and unsuited for current plumbing fixtures and appliances. For example, an outdated algorithm for estimating water demand leads builders to use unnecessarily large pipes, supplying more water than needed to buildings, causing excess water to stay behind in pipes. The excess water can potentially harbor pathogens or create other health hazards.

The NIST Plumbing Research Act will help solve these problems and bring U.S. plumbing standards into the 21st century. It would direct NIST to resurrect a plumbing research program discontinued in the 1970s, which investigated ways to make plumbing safer, more reliable and more efficient.

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI), Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), International Code Council (ICC) and High Performance Building Coalition have endorsed this legislation.

"Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) applauds Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA) for the re-introduction of this important legislation calling for the creation of a robust program for premise plumbing research at NIST. American consumers have the benefit of state-of-the-art water efficient plumbing fittings and fixtures; however, the legacy plumbing that carries water to these fixtures in our homes and offices are based on research and data from the 1930s," said Kerry Stackpole, PMI CEO. "This bill would significantly improve the water efficiency and safety in water systems across the nation."

"We applaud Rep. Cartwright for his continued leadership and vision in taking pragmatic steps to deal with the water and sanitation challenges faced by many American households," said Dave Viola, CEO, IAPMO. "Industry is waiting and ready to apply the findings of the research required by this bill to tackle the major issues we see daily in the media. This legislation will help to improve the quality of household drinking water, increase housing affordability through the more accurate sizing of plumbing systems, and guide our efforts to expand water reuse in drought-stricken communities. It will have a direct, positive impact on America's homes and buildings today and for the foreseeable future."

"The NIST Plumbing Research Act will support key research that addresses gaps in our knowledge about how to design and maintain plumbing systems to account for lower water flows resulting from water efficiency measures in homes and other buildings," said Ron Burke, CEO, AWE. "We appreciate Rep. Cartwright's continued leadership on drinking water and sanitation matters."

Also co-sponsoring this bill are U.S. Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), Joseph Morelle (D-NY-25), Mike Quigley (D-IL-05), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01) and Paul Tonko (D-NY-20). Text of the bill can be viewed HERE.

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