New Regulations on Alloy Composition of Plumbing Components

The safety of drinking water is essential to public health, and lead (Pb) contamination is one of the biggest threats to drinking water safety in the United States. While most city water systems in the country have replaced city pipes and lines to meet the current standards, many older homes still contain pipes and plumbing components with a higher Pb content, and continue to expose their inhabitants to drinking water with higher levels of Pb. While newer homes-those built after 1986-have been required to meet more stringent standards, these standards are once again about to change to greatly reduce the amount of Pb allowed in plumbing components.

The regulation that addresses water quality and safety is the Safe Drinking Water Act, originally enacted in 1974 and amended in 1986 to significantly reduce the concentration of Pb allowed in plumbing components such as solder and brass pipes and fittings. The allowable lead level in brass plumbing components was set to 8%. In January of 2011, the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended once again, this time reducing the allowable level of Pb in brass components that come into contact with drinking water to 0.25%. CONTACT US TODAY TO LEARN ABOUT XRF TOOLS TO VERIFY THE % OF LEAD IN BRASS.

Meeting the Challenges of the New Legal Requirement: No More Than 0.25% Pb in Brass Plumbing Components

The deadline for compliance with the new SDWA amendment is January 2014, at which point all new plumbing installations must meet this requirement. All parties involved in materials handling and installation will be held responsible for compliance with the 0.25% standard, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and installers. However, the supply chain will likely continue to have brass components that contain as much as 8% Pb in them for a long time to come, since the brass that is higher in Pb is cheaper and easier to manufacture, and is still deemed acceptable in most parts of the world outside the U.S. Therefore, manufactures, suppliers, and distributors will require tools that allow them to quickly and easily verify that they are making, shipping, receiving, inventorying, and installing the correct components in order to comply with the new SDWA lead limits.

XRF Alloy Analysis for SDWA 0.25% Limit for Pb in Brass Plumbing Components

Handheld XRF is a fast, easy, completely nondestructive method of analyzing alloy components for complete elemental composition, including percent by weight of Pb, Cu, etc. in brass plumbing components. With a state-of-art XRF alloy analyzer like the Bruker S1 TITAN, a complete alloy chemistry of a brass component takes between 2 and 5 seconds, and differentiating between components with 0.25% Pb versus 5-8% Pb is virtually instantaneous.

Because the S1 TITAN is fast, easy to use even for a novice operator, and completely nondestructive, it is the perfect tool for verifying the quantity of lead in brass at all steps of the process, from checking the composition of metal alloys as they come in from suppliers, to testing finished components before sending them out for distribution, to avoiding inventory mix-ups in situations where both brass components meeting the old 8% standard and the new 0.25% standard are present. CONTACT US TODAY TO SEE THE S1 TITAN IN ACTION.

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