Congressman Matt Cartwright

Representing the 17th District of Pennsylvania
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Rep. Cartwright Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Plumbing Standards

Jan 5, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced legislation that would modernize our nation’s plumbing systems.

First introduced in the 114th Congress, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Plumbing Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 301) directs NIST to research how to improve the safety, water-efficiency, and reliability of our plumbing systems.

The research and data behind the U.S. plumbing structure, design, and construction standards have scarcely changed since they were established in the early 20th century.   As a result, even newly built plumbing systems are often inefficient and incorrect for current plumbing fixtures and appliances.

“Americans benefit from modern water fixtures and appliances, such as water-saving shower heads and efficient washing machines,” said Rep. Cartwright.  “However, the plumbing that currently carries water to these fixtures and appliances is out of date.  Updated plumbing systems will pose fewer health risks to consumers and make better use of our fresh water resources.  

Currently, an outdated algorithm for estimating water demand leads builders to use unnecessarily large pipes, supplying more water than needed to buildings.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.  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.

“It’s time we bring our plumbing standards into the 21st century,” Rep. Cartwright said.  “NIST has the intellectual resources, infrastructure, and procedures necessary to relaunch this research.”

This bill is supported by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).