At a small business roundtable meeting on Friday, Dec. 6, President Trump commented that he has instructed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate water efficiency standards to determine if revisions are needed in order to amend product performance for American consumers. The President stated concerns that current water efficiency standards have resulted in toilets that do not flush reliably and showerheads and faucets that do not provide adequate flow rates for their intended purpose. As a result, intended water savings are not being realized as consumers are flushing multiple times and taking longer to shower and wash their hands.
Since President H.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 1992 into law, the plumbing industry has worked successfully to develop high performing products that meet American consumer expectations. In 2006, the EPA introduced the WaterSense program, a voluntary labeling program designed to help consumers identify and select high performing plumbing products. The WaterSense program requires that manufacturers have their products independently tested and certified to performance requirements that exceed industry minimum standards. Today, more than 30,000 models have been tested and certified to WaterSense specifications, resulting in more than 13 trillion gallons of water savings.
IAPMO has been and continues to be a steadfast supporter of the WaterSense program. There are numerous studies, surveys and independent product testing programs have shown today’s plumbing products are performing extremely well and are meeting consumer expectations. Further, data from water utilities across the nation have proved that the nation’s transition toward high efficiency plumbing products and appliances has indeed resulted in profound water savings, particularly benefitting numerous states and cities that have experienced severe water stresses and high population growth over the last three decades. Along the way, American consumers across the nation have saved billions in lower water and energy utility bills, while stresses on our nation’s increasingly fragile water and waste water infrastructure have been reduced.
While it is too soon to know what specific changes may be proposed to water efficiency standards as a result of the president’s directive, IAPMO will continue to meet regularly with the EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and our industry partners and other stakeholders. It is safe to assume, however, that based upon a directive from the president, plumbing products will be reviewed by all relevant regulatory bodies. Safe plumbing will always be our prime directive. As such, we welcome all discussions that provide an increased focus on the safe and efficient delivery of water to U.S. homes and buildings. Indeed, there are many actions the EPA and DOE can consider that work toward a more safe and secure water future for all Americans. IAPMO and our partners commit to providing leadership and science-based direction while working with the EPA and DOE toward meeting that vitally important need.