Businesses that rely on a ready supply of non-potable water should be aware of the Reduction Of Lead In Drinking Water Act and how it could impact their bottom lines.
Companies that invest now in service brass for their water infrastructure could see significant savings on future projects.
Congress passed Public Act 380-111 in 2010, which reduces the maximum allowable amount of lead used in the wetted surfaces of brass pipe fitting, valves and meters used in potable water applications from 8 percent to 0.25 percent. The law goes into effect Jan. 4, 2014.
That means suppliers like MSPS that still have a stockpile of the standard service brass are looking to get rid of it and offering discounts in effort to sell out before the law goes into effect.
It’s estimated that the new low-lead service brass will cost 40 percent more than today’s product. A year ahead of the law’s enforcement date, most manufacturers have all but stopped production of standard service bras and it will only become increasingly difficult to find over the years.
However, the law does not apply to non-potable water infrastructure. That means industries like manufacturing, mining and even natural gas producers who need water for hydraulic fracturing can realize significant savings by investing in service brass for future water infrastructure development now.
There is no indication that Congress will ever legislate lower lead requirements for non-potable water applications.
While companies will likely always be able to use standard brass pipe fittings and meters for non-potable applications, the supply of standard service brass will dwindle in coming years.
Suppliers like MSPS will sell as much as possible to developers, municipalities and water districts as possible ahead of the law’s enforcement date, then to international buyers before likely melting down the remaining supply to make room in storage for the new product.
The new low-lead brass will create a new pricing norm and those working in industries that rely on water will likely end up paying up for potable water infrastructure when they don’t need it. Investing now could offset future infrastructure expenses.