2017 Year in Review


2017 PMI Conference Attracts 115 Attendees, 33 of 36 Member Companies Represented

In “The Spirit of Collaboration,” the 2017 PMI Conference provided members with interesting and insightful keynote speakers - Doc Hendley, Bruce Vincent and Andrew McAllister – and opportunities to collaborate, learn and network. Elvis was a special guest at the President’s Dinner Honoring Barbara C. Higgens. Fernando Fernandez of TOTO was the President’s Award recipient. A new Board of Directors slate and committee chairs were approved, including chairs of the new Commerce Committee (formerly the Fair Trade Issue Committee). Read more about the conference in the January 2018 issue of Ripple Effect.

Kerry Stackpole Takes Reins As CEO/Executive Director

New PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole began on June 12, 2017. During his first several months on the job, he worked closely with the PMI Board of Directors to lead PMI through the Sacramento and D.C Fly-Ins, the 2017 Strategic Advisory Council meeting, and the 2017 PMI Conference. He also visited the facilities of various members and attended industry events while establishing productive relationships with PMI staff and consultants. A Q and A podcast about PMI’s mission and Kerry’s goals was broadcast on WQA Radio and an article about Kerry’s initial experiences with PMI and plans for the future was published by PHCP Pros.

California's Recycled Water Requirements Will Not Apply Indoors for Use in Toilets and Urinals

PMI successfully advocated that California recycled water quality infrastructure requirements for new commercial and residential construction will not apply indoors for use in toilets and urinals. PMI successfully persuaded the California Building Standards Commission, California Department of Housing and Community Development, and California Department of Water Resources to not adopt these requirements for the 2016 Intervening Code Adoption Cycle. A summary of PMI’s work on this issue was published in Ripple Effect.

PMI Secures Support Toward Preserving and Maintaining the WaterSense Program

PMI worked to oppose the elimination of EPA’s WaterSense program in the 2018 federal budget. PMI and its partners were successful in securing report language in both the House and Senate Interior appropriations bills for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. The language expresses strong support for the continued operation and funding of the WaterSense program. PMI and D.C.-based member lobbyists coordinated their legislative strategies to meet with more than 100 congressional offices about the program.

In addition:

  • During the first session of 115th Congress, PMI worked closely with key congressional offices and allied groups on the introduction of three bills that would ensure WaterSense authorization:
    • Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act (S. 1137)
    • Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 1700)
    • Water Advanced Technologies for Efficient Resource Use Act of 2017 (H.R. 3248)
  • PMI sent a letter to the EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, and signed several coalition letters to the EPA underscoring the value and importance of the public-private water and energy savings partnership program.
  • In May, PMI members met with a key EPA political staffer to discuss the importance of preserving and maintaining the WaterSense program, as well as the agency's proposed rule for the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act issued in Jan. 2017.
  • Kerry Stackpole published an op-ed in Water Deeply urging Congress to authorize WaterSense and to create tax incentives for saving water.

PMI Contingent Participates in September Washington, D.C., Executive Forum and Fly-In

Fifteen PMI executives and lobbyists participated in a half-day forum with briefings by policy experts. Topics included the economic outlook for housing/construction, tax reform, infrastructure package, NAFTA, WaterSense, and upcoming EPA regulations. PMI hosted a reception with key business and water-related organizations. PMI members participated in 30 House and Senate congressional meetings as part of PMI’s Hill Day. In addition, a group of PMI manufacturers met with Lee Forsgren, the new deputy assistant administrator, Office of Water, EPA, to discuss upcoming rulemakings on funding for water infrastructure, the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, and the overhaul of the Lead and Copper Rule.

PMI Delegation Meets with California Officials During Sacramento Fly-In

Several member company executives and PMI Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee co-chairs attended the 2017 Fly-In to California’s Sacramento capitol on June 14. Substantive meetings were held with the California Energy Commission’s executive staff on PMI member implementation of the appliance efficiency regulations and the low flow rates that apply to their products. Constituent meetings were held with a number of Senate and Assembly offices to lobby specific measures.

In addition, PMI attendees held a key group meeting with the executive management team of the Building Standards Commission to discuss the recently concluded regulations that excluded, at PMI’s urging, the application of indoor recycled water infrastructure provisions in new commercial and residential developments.

High Compliance to California Lead in Drinking Water Plumbing Products Law

PMI confirmed that California’s continued implementation of the state’s Lead in Drinking Water Plumbing Products Law led to a very high compliance rate, as reported by a late-2017 Sampling Report by the Department of Toxic Substances Control [DTSC] focused on plumbing fittings (pipe tees, elbows, and coupling components) that were manufactured out of copper, brass, bronze, and galvanized steel.

KEROX, Haws Corporation and Global OEM Join as PMI Members

KEROX and Global OEM joined as allied members, and Haws Corporation as a manufacturing member.

PMI Strategic Advisory Council and Board Meet for Planning Session

PMI's Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) and Board of Directors met on Sept. 26-27 to review the current PMI Strategy Map and determine action steps for the coming year. The strategic discussion was facilitated by Tom Morrison, following the theme of "building an association of the future." Participants discussed how to better create and position association activities as benefits to members and how to make member interests central to everything PMI does.

Value of PMI Communications Continues to Climb

PMI outreach to traditional media was valued at more than $350,000 for the 2017 calendar year by media company Cision, showing strong return on the work invested. The PMI communications team is currently working to pinpoint the dollar value of PMI’s social media, publications and website – which gained more than 500,000 impressions combined – by evaluating the engagement these vehicles have with their intended audiences. The Linked In and Twitter social platforms particularly continue to show strong engagement from key audiences.

Study Estimates Up To 170-Billion-Gallon Water Savings Per Year Through Water-Efficient Toilets

Water-efficient toilets could potentially save up to 170 billion potable gallons of water per year across five states facing water scarcity, according to research released by the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) and PMI. The "Saturation Study of Non-Efficient Water Closets in Key States" focused on Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas - all states that have experienced serious water shortages. The savings projected by the study (170 billion gallons of potable water yearly or 465 million gallons saved per day) could be achieved if non-efficient toilets in residential properties are replaced with water-efficient ones. This five-state savings can be extrapolated to an estimate of up to 360 billion potable gallons of water per year saved nationally.
Read more.

Dr. Paul Sturman Completes Low Flow and Pathogen Growth Study

The Low Flow and Opportunistic Pathogen Growth Study conducted by Dr. Paul Sturman (Montana State University) was completed. As reported at the 2017 PMI Conference, the flow rate range studied (0.5 – 2.5 gpm) did not have a significant impact on biofilm accumulation or effluent cell counts over the four-month study period.

FTC Eliminates Requirement for Standardized Markings

Based on PMI input, the Federal Trade Commission revised its labeling and marking requirements for plumbing products (16 CFR Part 305), eliminating the requirement for standardized markings on faucets, showerheads, water closets and urinals.

Standard Harmonization Successes Achieved

Along with member companies, PMI persuaded the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) to revise its plumbing faucet, fitting and valve standard (PROY-NOM-012-CONAGUA-2015) to more closely match the requirements found in the U.S. and Canadian standard (ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1).

PMI and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) obtained an agreement from UL and CSA to begin the harmonization process of North American standards pertaining to hydromassage bathtubs and electric plumbing accessories.

PMI Technical Recommendations Take Hold

At the Uniform Plumbing Code Hearings in Anaheim, and confirmed later through the letter ballot process, 22 of 26 public comments (85% success rate) voted on by the technical committee were in favor of PMI's positions. At the National Standard Plumbing Code Hearings in Atlantic City, 23 of 26 code proposals (88% success rate) voted on by the technical committee were in favor of PMI's positions.

The City of Vancouver, British Columbia, included within its by-law amendments several recommendations from PMI regarding water consumption requirements for lavatory faucets, kitchen faucets, showerheads, water closets and urinals.

PMI convinced the Illinois AWWA Backflow Committee to revise its backflow guidance bulletins, which are used by plumbing inspectors in Illinois, to recognize dual check or double check valves in accordance with ASSE 1014 for handheld showers.

PMI successfully fought to keep EPA WaterSense flow rates for lavatory faucets and showerheads out of the 2018 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code). PMI also worked to ensure that water consumption requirements for plumbing fixtures and fixture fittings in subsequent cycles should only be addressed in the IPC (International Plumbing Code) or IRC-P (International Residential Code – Plumbing).

PMI also persuaded the ASHRAE 90.1 Mechanical Working Group to not adopt flow rate requirements for hot water plumbing fixture fittings in the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.

Videos and Case Study Attest to PMI Value

The PMI communications team created 13 videos with PMI members attesting to the value of PMI membership. These videos were posted on the Safe Plumbing YouTube page, the safeplumbing.org website, and on PMI and Safe Plumbing social media platforms. At the 2017 PMI Conference, the team interviewed 14 more individuals on video to develop more of these videos for 2018. In addition, the PMI communications team developed a case study about how PMI’s collaboration with Denver Water led to WaterSense standards to be mandated in Colorado.
View all of the PMI Value videos.
Read the Denver Water case study.

Safe Plumbing Website Achieves Excellent Search Engine Optimization

SafePlumbing.org continues to perform well in positioning PMI as an authoritative resource, with the website appearing in the top 10 in Google search on 50 of our targeted key words and phrases, such as "safe plumbing," "plumbing manufacturing," "plumbing public health and safety," "water efficient plumbing," and "lead in plumbing." Early this year, the PMI communications team updated the website's lead-in-plumbing page to assure that it continued to be up-to-date and accurate. This page received 87,401 views from Jan, 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017 - the most of any page on the website - with the Flint water crisis serving as the catalyst for this increased visibility. This page ranks first in Google search for the phrase "lead in plumbing," thereby making accurate and up-to-date information available to those interested in this topic rather than misleading information coming from other sources.

In addition, the PMI team started taking steps to improve the site’s navigation and to focus the site more on the needs of members.

Individual Ripple Effect Articles Now Displayed on SafePlumbing.Org

The PMI communications team has added website functionality allowing the display of individual Ripple Effect articles on SafePlumbing.org. For this issue and all going forward, website search results will now include Ripple Effect articles, and social media posts and other communications will now be able to link to individual articles. The individual listings go back to May 2017. PDF documents of Ripple Effect and its predecessor, PMI News, go back to September 1998.

PMI Hosts Webinars on Trade Policy Developments, NAFTA and TSCA

D.C.-based trade lawyers provided a webinar in March concerning "Trade Policy Developments under the Trump Administration," including updates on renegotiating NAFTA, buying America, and the potential for tariffs on Chinese products. In September 2017, PMI hosted “What To Expect from NAFTA Renegotiations” and in November hosted an hour-long webinar for PMI members about changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that also became available for on-demand viewing. Both the NAFTA and TSCA webinars are posted here.

PMI Signs Memorandums of Understanding

The International Code Council (ICC) and PMI entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) specifically detailing ways in which the two organizations will work together to explore the promotion of mutual interests within the industry as related to education, training, advocacy and harmonization of North American product standards.

In July 2017, PMI and the American Supply Association (ASA) entered into a MOU focused on areas of common interest between the two membership organizations.

Sixth Biennial EWTS Scheduled

Against the backdrop of a new U.S. federal government that will no doubt impact the future of the plumbing and water efficiency industries, PMI, the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), in cooperation with the World Plumbing Council (WPC), announced that the sixth biennial Emerging Water Technology Symposium (EWTS) will take place May 15-16, 2018, in Ontario, Calif. A Call for Abstracts for this highly respected event also was issued.
Read more.

Content about Legionella Developed

PMI developed new content titled "Just The Facts: Legionella and Water Supply Systems" for use by PMI members and allies to help policymakers and the general public to better understand the nature and cause of Legionella bacteria and its impact on the water supply systems. To be introduced to the media and general public in early February 2018, the content will be available as a PMI website page and as a .pdf. PMI members are welcome to use the content, as well as an accompanying toolkit that includes a one-page summary, a quiz, social media messages and graphics, and website/newsletter page content.

PMI Participates in PILC Meeting

A record 20 associations represented by the chief executives and their volunteer leadership attended the 6th annual meeting of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC), on May 24, 2017, at the headquarters of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) in Washington, D.C.

Urgent Response Process Developed

Based on ideas and input from PMI members, the Board of Directors developed and approved an Urgent Response Process (URP). The protocol provides clear guidance for managing issues and streamlines the decision-making process for new and existing policy issues. The new URP has been used to support prompt action with the United State Congress and requests from allied associations for PMI support.

Letters to 115th Congress and President Trump Delivered

PMI congratulated members of the new 115th Congress and outlined the industry's priorities in a letter, including underscoring the association's strong support of the EPA's WaterSense program. In addition, PMI also sent a letter to President Donald Trump providing an overview of PMI and highlighting the importance of WaterSense and water infrastructure programs.

Written Comments on Technical Issues

The PMI Technical Committee submitted written comments to:

  • California GREEN & PEME Code Action Committees regarding CA AB 2282 (recycled water).
  • EPA WaterSense regarding its notice of intent to develop a draft specification for bath and shower diverters.
  • EPA regarding its notice of proposed rulemaking for the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2015-0680).
  • New York Assembly Member Pamela J. Hunter (D) and Senator David J. Valesky (D) regarding their proposed bills (NY AB 5699 & SB 4591) that impacted water consumption requirements for plumbing fixtures and fittings.
  • Massachusetts Representative Frank Smizik (D) regarding his proposed bill (MA H.3404) that impacted water consumption requirements for plumbing fixtures and fittings.
  • California Energy Commission (CEC) regarding its proposed rulemaking (Docket #17-AAER-09) that would lower the leakage requirements for tub spout diverters sold in California.
  • ASHRAE 90.1 Mechanical Working Group regarding adoption of flow rate requirements for hot water plumbing fixture fittings in the ASHRAE 90.1 standard.
  • CEC regarding the California Investor Owned Utilities’ proposed test plan, tub spout leakage rates, testing and product packaging labeling requirements for Docket #17-AAER-09.
  • DOE regarding their proposed information collection extension that included consideration for accommodating CEC reporting requirements.
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding technical regulations for building materials (SAU/993).

PMI Works For You By Attending These Events & Meetings

  • Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) (Orlando, FL). PMI staff visited with all members at the show, and with prospective members.
  • ASME A112/CSA Meetings (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  • ASHRAE Winter Conference (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Bathroom Manufacturers Association (London, England)
  • Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
  • CONAGUA Meeting (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • CDA's Cross-Contamination of Copper and Brass Scrap Summit (Chicago, IL)
  • Flint Water Infrastructure Summit (Flint, Michigan)
  • National Standard Plumbing Code Meetings (Atlantic City, NJ)
  • National Association of Home Builders 2017 Leading Suppliers Summit (Washington, DC)
  • 2017 ISH Conference and World Plumbing Council Meeting (Frankfurt, Germany). PMI staff visited with all members at the conference, met with potential new members, and identified industry trends.
  • IAPMO WE-Stand Committee Meetings (Ontario, CA)
  • Uniform Plumbing Code Hearings (Anaheim, CA)
  • ICC PMG Code Action Committee Meetings (Chicago, IL)
  • Sacramento Fly-In (Sacramento, CA). Visited with the California Building Standards Commission, California Energy Commission and various state legislators.
  • ASME A112/CSA Meetings (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • ASHRAE Summer Meetings (Long Beach, CA)
  • Canadian Advisory Council on Plumbing Meeting (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
  • CONAGUA Meeting - NOM 002 Ceramic Fixtures (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • ISEA Meeting (Arlington, Virginia)

Newly Enacted Laws in California

Measures PMI closely followed that were enacted into law in 2017 include:

  • Raw Water - AB 574 [Quirk] – directing the State Water Board to adopt uniform water recycling criteria for direct potable reuse through raw water augmentation
  • Lead Service Lines - SB 427 [Leyva] – with requirements for community water systems that have identified known lead user service lines in use in their distribution systems to test for lead
  • Lead Poisoning - AB 1316 [Quirk] – mandating revisions to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to redefine the assessment of risks for the purposes of evaluating a child's risk for lead exposure

Member Visits

  • Matt Sigler visited Haws, Jing Mei Industrial (USA), Inc.; NSF International; Reliance Worldwide Corporation; Similor AG; Toto Europe; and Viega LLC (Germany).
  • Kerry Stackpole visited Sloan Valve Company, Bradley Corporation, Kohler Co., Symmons Industries, and Speakman Company.
  • Barbara C. Higgens visited Speakman Company and Jing Mei Industrial (USA), Inc.

Comings and Goings

Barbara C. Higgens' Career Recounted by TMB Publishing

Summarizing her PMI career and wishing her well in the future, TMB Publishing compiled a comprehensive feature story, "Barbara C. Higgens: The End of an Era," that thoroughly recounts the challenges she faced and the goals she achieved as PMI executive director/CEO. Several current PMI members are quoted in the story. Read more.

In addition to the retirement of Barbara C. Higgens, long-time PMI members and leaders Scott McDonald of Fluidmaster and Rick Reles of Kohler Co. also retired. The recipient of the 2010 President’s Award and long-time Bradley Corporate employee, Klaus Fromme, died in July 2017.

In Progress

Proposed Rulemaking for Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act

PMI submitted comments in May to the EPA in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking. PMI opposed the agency's new dual labeling requirement, but strongly supported its proposal to require American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited third-party certification of products to the EPA lead-free requirements. PMI will continue to track as the final rule is scheduled to be released after September 30, 2018.

PMI Working to Keep WaterSense Standards in Place in Massachusetts

PMI persuaded proponents of a Massachusetts State House Bill (H3404) to pursue plumbing fixture and fixture fitting water consumption levels that are in line with EPA WaterSense rather than with California’s levels.

PMI Technical and Advocacy Teams Track Various Issues

  • Tub Spout Diverters. In California, PMI is advocating against reducing the leakage rate for tub spout diverters and opposing proposed new testing and package labeling requirements.
  • California Packaging Reform. PMI is tracking CalRecycle’s current proceedings that could result in new regulatory requirements and/or prohibitions on product packaging. PMI joined a coalition advocacy letter in response to CalRecycle’s proposal of a new, comprehensive, statewide regulatory framework for managing all packaging to decrease disposal. This effort will continue in 2018.
  • California Prop 65 Warning Requirements. PMI is informing members of changes they should consider making to the content of their Prop 65 warnings in advance of the August 30, 2018, effective date. The information included a presentation at the 2017 PMI Conference and plans for a webinar in early 2018. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment [OEHHA] is considering possible revisions to the safe harbor notice provisions as they pertain to labels, tags, and packaging.
  • Recycled Water. PMI is working on establishing a policy position on recycled water that will include water parameters that do not negatively impact the performance of plumbing fixtures and fixture fittings.
  • ISO Water Efficient Plumbing Standard. PMI, along with other members of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC), submitted a joint comment letter to ANSI that expressed concerns regarding the proposed standard, such as the potential impact on the voluntary EPA WaterSense program and unintended consequences of water efficiency that should be investigated. PMI will continue to track.
  • ASME A112 Appeal. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has appealed the decision of the ASME A112 Standard Committee to not open a project regarding changing the maximum flush volume for toilets and urinals in ASME A112.19.2/CSA B45.1. PMI Staff (Matt Sigler) has been asked by ASME to represent the ASME 112 Standard Committee during the appeal hearing in January 2018.
  • Bismuth Brass. PMI is tracking the possible legislative implications of a UCLA and Virginia Tech research report advising against the use of bismuth brass cast components in potable water systems.
  • Institutional Showerhead Exemptions. PMI submitted a documented request to the California Energy Commission that California revise its appliance efficiency regulations to exempt institutional showerheads from the 1.8 gpm maximum flow rate requirement. The provision may surface in a new docket in early 2018.t
  • 2018 Triennial Code Adoption Cycle in California – PMI prepared for activities that are scheduled to commence in 2018, as the Business Standards Commission, Housing and Community Development Department, Department of Water Resources and other agencies pursue the 2018 Triennial Code Adoption Cycle that will lead to updates to the Plumbing Code and Green Building Code to take effect in 2020.
  • Mexico. PMI is waiting on the publication of standards NOM 002 (Ceramic Fixtures) and NOM 012 (Faucets, Fittings and Valves), and anticipates committee work to begin in 2018 on a new standard for showerheads.
  • Canada. PMI submitted comments regarding accessibility changes in Ontario, and is still waiting on the outcome. PMI is tracking several initiatives by the National Resources Council Canada (NRCC) including developing a net zero energy code for housing and adding accessibility requirements to the codes.