Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Cartwright Introduces Legislation Aimed at Saving Consumers Money, Conserving Water

Dec 2, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright introduced the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Plumbing Research Act of 2016 (H.R. 6424), legislation that would invest in research to bring the data for U.S. plumbing standards into the 21st century, making our plumbing systems safer, more reliable, and more water-efficient.

The bill accomplishes this by directing the NIST to conduct research on plumbing systems.

“American consumers today reap the benefits of state-of-the-art water fixtures and appliances, such as water-saving shower heads and efficient washing machines,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “However, the plumbing that carries water to these fixtures and appliances has not kept pace.  In fact, the research and data which are the basis for U.S. plumbing structure, design, and construction standards have barely changed since they were developed in the early 20th century.  As a result, even newly built plumbing systems are often inefficient and inappropriate for current plumbing fixtures and appliances.”

This mismatch of technologies can cause problems.  For example, an outdated algorithm for estimating water demand leads builders to use unnecessarily large pipes, supplying more water than needed to buildings.  This wastes water that is critical to the wellbeing of our communities and our environment.  Excess water lingering in pipes can be a health hazard, potentially harboring pathogens such as Legionella bacteria, which is responsible for Legionnaires' disease.  In addition, water flow through these improperly sized pipes can be too weak to move solids, resulting in sewage backups and costly repairs for consumers.

“The NIST Plumbing Research Act of 2016 is a win on multiple fronts.  It will spark innovation in the plumbing industry,” Rep. Cartwright said.  “Consumers will save money thanks to fewer plumbing repairs, and will be exposed to fewer health risks.  And better plumbing means more water conservation and better use of our fresh water resources.”