2018 Year in Review

PMI successfully worked to achieve the goals of the plumbing manufacturing industry in 2018. PMI helped to achieve WaterSense authorization, kept members abreast of the impact of tariffs, saw member-developed technical recommendations gain approval, organized another successful PMI Conference, and much more.

Advocacy and Government Affairs

PMI Joins with Industry Allies to Preserve and Authorize WaterSense

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump in October. Receiving bipartisan support, the act authorized the EPA’s successful WaterSense program and provided funding for investments in critical infrastructure programs for the nation’s ports, harbors, inland waterways, and drinking water systems. PMI and its industry allies had been continually encouraging federal lawmakers to authorize the program and to take steps to rebuild and revitalize the nation’s water infrastructure.

By formally authorizing and codifying the WaterSense program, the act provides annual funding specifically to the program, after years of the program’s budget being left up to the discretion of the EPA administrator. Over the course of the advocacy effort, PMI met with the staff of dozens of congressional members to underscore the importance of the WaterSense authorization.

Read PMI’s news release about WaterSense authorization.

PMI Opposes Trump Administrative Tariffs, Helps Members Stay Informed with Frequent Updates

PMI joined Americans for Free Trade and its nationwide campaign against tariffs entitled, “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland.” This diverse coalition of over 150 trade associations from across the country continues to press for resolution of the ongoing trade disputes with China. This fall, the coalition sponsored over a dozen town hall meetings throughout the country to underscore the negative economic impact that the Section 301 tariffs are having on manufacturers, farmers, retailers, builders, and consumers. In addition, the coalition sent key federal officials letters to which PMI signed onto:

  • 2018 letter asking President Trump to resolve the ongoing trade war with China during the G20 meeting in Argentina with Chinese President Xi, to remove the 2018 tariff increases, to forgo the January 2019 tariff increase and to avoid an additional round of tariffs on the remaining $267 billion worth goods.
  • 2018 letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requesting that the Trump Administration include an exclusion process for the 10% Section 301 tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China (List 3).
  • 2018 letter to USTR opposing the imposition of new tariffs at either 10% or 25% on the newly released China Section 301 List 3.
  • 2018 letter to USTR on recommendations to mitigate the negative impact of the broad China Section 301 tariffs by establishing an expedited and fair process to exclude products from these and future lists.

PMI held an in-depth webinar on the Section 301 tariffs and the exclusion process in August and posted regular trade updates for members.

PMI CEO Attests to Unfavorable Impacts of Tariffs Before USTR

PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole also testified in August before the USTR on the unfavorable and consequential impacts the tariffs would have on U.S. plumbing manufacturers that produce the hundreds of plumbing-related products and components included on List 3, as well as on consumers and the economy. Dozens of plumbing-related products and components were included on List 3 of these tariffs. The tariffs would result in significant supply chain disruptions and increased costs, thereby having a detrimental impact on American plumbing manufacturers and their workers, on the construction sector, and on retailers and consumers, Stackpole testified. Read his full testimony.

PMI Members Brief Lawmakers & Congressional Staff on Priority Issues

In June, PMI held its annual Washington, D.C., Executive Forum and Fly In. Members visited over 20 congressional offices, advocating for the preservation of EPA’s WaterSense program and passage of bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s career and technical education law. Members also highlighted concerns over trade tariffs and underscored the importance of strong funding for water infrastructure. During a half-day forum on the day preceding the Capitol Hill visits, attendees received briefings from policy experts and administration officials. Topics included the U.S. economy, housing and construction, trade policy with a focus on tariff initiatives, the infrastructure legislative package, and upcoming EPA regulations.

PMI Recognizes Rep. Ken Calvert for His Leadership on WaterSense

PMI Board President Peter Jahrling and PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole presented Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) with a PMI industry award recognizing the legislator’s leadership and strong support in maintaining the WaterSense program within the EPA for both the FY18 and FY19 appropriations cycle. The congressman serves as chairman of the House Interior-EPA Appropriations Subcommittee, which has direct oversight of the EPA’s budget. PMI member company, BrassCraft, is located in his district.

Sacramento Fly In Participants Meet with California Legislators, Commissioner McAllister

PMI members visited with 10 members of the California Senate and Assembly and with California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister to discuss a range of issues impacting plumbing fixture and fittings manufacturers on May 8-9 at PMI's Sacramento Fly In.

Topics discussed with California legislators included water appliance efficiency requirements; water conservation legislation designed to establish per-gallons, per-day water use standards; and the continuing issues surrounding tub spout diverters.

In a meeting with Assembly Member Laura Friedman, PMI members voiced support and shared ideas about A.B. 3170, a measure she introduced that provides a sales tax holiday for purchases of WaterSense products in California. The meeting with Commissioner McAllister covered commission initiatives including the recently passed requirement for solar panel installation on new homes in California, innovations in water recycling, grey water use, tub spout diverters, and other developments in water-efficient products.

Plumbing Products Pass the Lead Test in California

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) found that all 54 of the brass fittings tested in 2018 contained less than 0.25% lead, the maximum level set by the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The average lead content was 0.09%, with a range of 0.01% - 0.17%. Within individual fitting types from the same manufacturer, minimal variability in the lead content was observed (average coefficient of variation = 8.44%). Thanks to Jerry Desmond, PMI's California government affairs consultant, for passing along this information.


PMI Technical Recommendations Take Hold

PMI saw its many of its positions and recommendations adopted by technical committees and policymakers.

  • At the International Code Hearings in Richmond, Va., 10 of 13 code proposals (77% success rate) voted on by the ICC membership were in favor of PMI’s positions.
  • ASTM F446 (Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Grab Bars and Accessories Installed in the Bathing Area) was reinstated.
  • At the Copper Development Association’s Brass Scrap Summit, the idea of adding markings to plumbing products to indicate unleaded alloys was put on hold, and the focus shifted to possible improvements with sorting manufacturing scrap and looking more deeply into various sorting technologies to address impurities in end-of-life copper and brass scrap.
  • At the International Code Hearings in Columbus, Ohio, 53 out of 66 code proposals (80% success rate) voted on by the Technical Committee were in favor of PMI’s positions.
  • At the Uniform Plumbing Code Hearings in Corona, Calif., and confirmed later through the letter ballot process, 46 out of 55 code proposals (84% success rate) voted on by the Technical Committee were in favor of PMI’s positions.
  • PMI persuaded proponents of Vermont HB 410 to pursue plumbing fixture and fixture fitting water consumption levels in line with EPA WaterSense rather than with California standards. The Vermont bill was signed by the governor on May 21. PMI made similar efforts with Hawaii HB 2248/SB 2935, Massachusetts HB 4737, New York AB 5699/SB 4591, and Washington HB 2327. These bills were not approved by the end of their legislative sessions. PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole published an op-ed on this issue in Water Deeply.
  • PMI persuaded the ASME A112 Committee to not lower the maximum flush volumes for tank-type toilets and urinals to WaterSense levels in the industry standards. The Natural Resources Defense Council was in favor of lowering these flush volumes.
  • PMI persuaded the National Research Council of Canada’s Standing Committee on HVAC and Plumbing to remove pressure vacuum breaker requirements from the National Plumbing Code of Canada that would have had a negative impact on PMI members that manufacture personal hygiene devices.
  • Persuaded the province of Quebec to not adopt a reduced flush volume of 3.0 liters per flush (Lpf) for dual flush water closets.
  • The California Energy Commission adopted regulations on July 12, with an anticipated effective date of Oct. 1, that include PMI-sought revisions within the Commission’s update to regulations addressing its Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System [MAEDBS] and other provisions. The PMI requests correct the provisions that address the minimum spray force for commercial pre-rinse spray valves and add a reference to the industry standards for water closets sold after Jan. 1, 2016.

California Energy Commission Lowers Priority of Tub Spout Leakage Rates

Following concerns raised by PMI and its member companies, the California Energy Commission in early 2018 lowered the priority it placed on proposed regulations lowering the maximum leakage rates of tub spout diverters. The informal pre-regulation docket has not become a formal regulatory proposal at this time. It remains to be seen whether that will change in the future.

PMI Develops Parameters and Ranges for Recycled Water Use

PMI introduced parameters for the use of indoor recycled water. Developed for the benefit of water utilities to ensure that plumbing products function as intended by manufacturers, the water quality limits provide recommended ranges on 13 different parameters of water quality. View the news release.

Thanks to these PMI members serving on the Sustainability Task Group who contributed to the final product:
Danny Gleiberman (Co-chair) (Sloan Valve Co.)
Cambria McLeod (Co-chair) (Kohler Co.)
Ron Barndt (LIXIL)
Mark Fasel (Viega)
Fernando Fernandez (TOTO USA)
John Finch (Masco)
Martin Knieps (Viega)
C.J. Lagan (LIXIL)
Michael Luettgen (Kohler Co.)
David Marbry (Fluidmaster)
Christopher Marozzi (LIXIL)
Mark Ocampo (ICC-ES)
Gary Soe (TOTO USA)
Sharon Steiner (NSF International)
Chip Way (Lavelle)
Jeff Zeman (Kohler Co.)

PMI Releases PCR Guidance Documents

In collaboration with its members, PMI has issued a Product Category Rule (PCR) Guidance Document for Kitchen and Bath Fixture Fittings, as well as version 1.1 of the PCR Guidance Document for Kitchen and Bath Vessel Fixtures. These documents were developed to help program operators apply consistent rules and calculations when developing PCRs. Learn more.

PMI Conference and Professional Development

PMI Conference Evolves to Meet Members’ Changing Needs

PMI welcomed members, speakers, media and other guests to the 2018 PMI Conference at the Wigwam Resort outside of Phoenix. Well-received by members, this year’s program featured futurist Jack Uldrich; a panel of home building experts; a panel addressing challenges posed by tariffs, Brexit and other trade issues; emcee Thom Singer; and a media panel, as well as discussions about technical topics, WaterSense advocacy, water-efficiency accomplishments, Legionella prevention, and more. Attendees enjoyed open-air dinners and valuable networking activities.

Post-conference resources have been posted for PMI members, including speaker information, presentations and photos. View resources.

Next year's conference will be held Nov. 4-7 at the Don CeSar Hotel, St. Pete Beach, Fla.

PMI Conference Sponsors

Jodi Stuhrberg and Mariana Nicolae Honored

PMI Board of Directors Pete Jahrling presented PMI Association Manager Jodi Stuhrberg with the President's Award and recognized Mariana Nicolae of Sloan Valve Co. for her long and dedicated service to PMI.

PMI Elects Nate Kogler President, Announces 2019 Board of Directors

The members of PMI elected Nate Kogler president of the 2019 PMI Board of Directors at PMI’s 44th annual meeting of the membership held during the PMI Conference. The director of product management at Bradley Corporation, Kogler succeeds Pete Jahrling, director, product engineering and intellectual property at Sloan Valve Company, who served as board president in 2017 and 2018. Jahrling will continue to serve on the board as immediate past president.

Joel Smith, director – new product engineering at Kohler Co., was elected as vice president and Todd Teter, vice president and general manager - U.S. wholesale for Moen Inc., will serve as secretary/treasurer.

Elected as directors at large were Chip Way, director of OEM sales at Lavelle Industries, John Finch, principal engineer at Masco Corporation, and Carol Baricovich, director - global brand communications, government relations, and marketing/business development at InSinkErator.

PMI Committee Co-Chairs Guide and Drive PMI Efforts and Accomplishments

The committee co-chairs for 2019 were named at the PMI Conference. PMI thanks those retiring from their committee positions after outstanding service.

Advocacy/Government Affairs Committee
Co-Chairs: Lowell Lampen, Kohler Co., and Michael Martinez, Delta Faucet Company

Allied Member Committee
Chair: Shahin Moinian, ICC-ES

Outreach/Communications Committee
Chair: Mary Ahlbrand, Delta Faucet Company

Technical Committee
Co-Chairs: Bob Neff, Delta Faucet Company; and C.J. Lagan, LIXIL

Commerce Committee
Co-Chairs: Liz Renfro, Delta Faucet Company; and Elton Perkins; Fluidmaster, Inc.

Water Efficiency and Sustainability Committee
Co-Chairs: Daniel Gleiberman, Sloan Valve Company, and Cambria McLeod, Kohler Co.

PMI Hosts Webinars on California Prop 65, TSCA and NAFTA

PMI hosted a webinar in March 2018 concerning California Proposition 65, which covered new warning requirements. PMI also provided webinars to members about changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), about lead in schools and selecting lead-free plumbing, and about “What To Expect from NAFTA Renegotiations.” These webinars are still available for on-demand viewing to PMI members.

PMI Introduces On-Demand, Online Codes and Standards Training

PMI’s first online course offering went live in December, “Part I: Primer on Standards, Regulations, Codes and Conformity Assessment.

EWTS Explores Technology's Potential in Managing Water Resources

An impressive line-up of speakers provided Emerging Water Technology Symposium (EWTS) attendees insights into how technology is contributing to better water efficiency and safety during the May 15-16 meeting in Ontario, Calif. In his remarks, PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole welcomed delegates and thanked EWTS sponsors. The symposium is co-convened each year by PMI, the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) and IAPMO, in cooperation with the World Plumbing Council.

Outreach and Communications

PMI Launches Enhanced Website

PMI launched an enhanced website, with an emphasis on creating an easier user experience for members. A newly created dashboard on the members-only section of the upgraded PMI website lists the latest reports, news, events and more - providing PMI members with valuable information on breaking issues that can be used for business planning, implementation and evaluation. In addition, much of the content throughout the site was rewritten or refreshed while maintaining the site’s excellent search engine optimization.

Due to the website’s search engine optimization, the most-viewed pages are pages open to the general public, such as the technical glossary and information about lead-free plumbing, product markings, and the importance of manufacturing. In 2018, the highest-ranked pages of specific interest to PMI members were the PMI Conference page (9th) and the members login (11th).

PMI, Kerry Stackpole Mentioned in Wall St. Journal – Twice

Plumbing Manufacturers International and PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole were mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article about perks and incentives plumbing companies have devised to attract and retain plumbers and in a second article about Trump Administration tariffs. Thanks to Delta Faucet Co. and Kohler Co. for responding to PMI's request to provide examples of innovative ways to attract and retain employees to the journal's reporter.

PMI Introduces New Legionella Content and Social Media Toolkit

"Just the Facts: Legionella and Water Supply Systems," a new PMI resource, was introduced to the media, allies and the general public in February. Produced by PMI with the assistance of Legionella experts, this publication and accompanying social media toolkit is available from the PMI website. PMI encourages members and allies to use and link to this information and to participate in the social media conversation about this important safety issue by using the toolkit.

Economic Impact Data Quantifies Jobs and Wages Provided by Plumbing Manufacturing Industry

PMI commissioned John Dunham & Associates to conduct research into the economic impact made by the plumbing manufacturing industry nationwide. The data show that the industry contributes $85.5 billion to the American economy by providing 464,370 jobs and $26 billion in wages. The national data can be sliced and diced by state and by congressional, state senate and state house districts. PMI staff has developed template letters and news releases to supplement reports and tables that can be downloaded from the PMI website. Learn more.

U.S. Geological Survey Credits Water-Efficient Plumbing for Record-Breaking Water Conservation

Americans using less water in their homes than at any other time in the past 50-plus years, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report. The report estimates per-capital water consumption to be 82 gallons per day, lower than the average yearly per-capita consumption that ranged from 89 to more than 100 gallons per day during the 1960s and 1970s.

According to a summary of the report published by the Washington Post, the USGS credits water-efficient plumbing products for reducing home water use, naming federal efficiency standards for toilets, faucets and showerheads set by the National Energy Policy Act of 1992.

The EPA estimates that 70 percent of total home water consumption happens indoors, with the remainder going to outdoor uses.

Read the Washington Post summary.

Read the full report.

Strategy, New Member and Events

PMI Board of Directors Holds 'Foresight' Strategy Session

The renowned computer scientist Alan Kay notes that "most creativity is a transition from one context into another where things are more surprising." The PMI Board of Directors made that concept the centerpiece of its work during a Foresight Strategy Session held in Rosemont, Ill., on July 19 and 20.

Hosted by 2018 PMI President Peter Jahrling of Sloan Valve Company, the working session was led by futurist Marsha Rhea of Signature I. The board worked with PMI staff and consultants to explore a cross-section of current social and business trends impacting the thinking and behavior of consumers, policymakers, and industry professionals alike. The day-and-a-half session was designed to provide insights into the association's current strategic plan and to support its evolution in the years ahead. The board adopted four key focus areas in 2017 and approved 12 strategic initiatives for 2018-2021. The new foresight research will enhance the strategic focus and direction of PMI.

Sprite Joins PMI As Newest Manufacturing Member

The PMI Board of Directors voted to approve Sprite Industries, Inc., as the newest manufacturing member of PMI. As the creator of the first non-carbon shower filter, Sprite is a leader in shower filtration technology and filtered shower products, including shower filters, heads and handles, and baby shower products. With headquarters in Corona, Calif., the company also operates a lab, manufacturing facility and warehouse in Corona, and runs a dedicated manufacturing plant in China.

PMI Staff Attend Events & Meetings

  • ASHRAE Winter Meetings (Chicago)
  • ASHRAE Summer Meetings (Houston)
  • ASME A112/CSA Committee Meetings (San Diego)
  • ASME A112/CSA Committee Meetings (Edmonton)
  • ASPE Convention (Atlanta)
  • ASSE Annual Meetings (Fort Lauderdale)
  • Bathroom Manufacturers Association (London, England)
  • Canadian Advisory Council on Plumbing and Mechanical Meeting (Saskatoon)
  • Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (Ottawa)
  • Canadian Standing Committee on HVAC and Plumbing Meeting (Ottawa)
  • Copper Development Association’s Brass Scrap Summit (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.)
  • Emerging Water Technology Symposium (Corona, Calif.)
  • EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council meeting (Washington, D.C.)
  • General Services Administration (GSA) Industry Day on updated federal acquisition process (Washington, D.C.)
  • High Performance Building Coalition meetings (Washington, D.C.) – monthly.
  • IAPMO Assembly Meeting (Philadelphia)
  • ICC Code Hearings (Columbus and Richmond)
  • Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) (Orlando). PMI staff visited with all members at the show, and with prospective members.
  • National Academies of Science Meeting on Legionella (Washington, D.C.)
  • National Green Building Standards Meeting (Washington, D.C.)
  • NIST Water Use Efficiency and Water Quality in Premise Plumbing Systems Workshop (Gaithersburg, Md.)
  • NSF 61 Committee Meeting (Ann Arbor)
  • NSF Legionella Conference (Baltimore)
  • NSPC Technical Committee Meeting (Philadelphia)
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hearings on China Section 301 Tariffs (Washington, D.C.)
  • PMI Washington, D.C. Executive Forum and Fly-In. Briefings from key official from the EPA Office of Water, National Association of Manufacturers’ chief economist, and lobbyist for Leading Builders of America, as well as visits on Capitol Hill with lawmakers.
  • Sacramento Fly-In. Visited with the California Building Standards Commission, California Energy Commission and various state legislators.
  • Uniform Plumbing Code Hearings (Corona, Calif.)