U.S. Senate Passes Drinking Water Infrastructure Bill with IAPMO Endorsed WaterSense Language

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate recently passed sweeping legislation addressing the nation’s water infrastructure, including authorization for the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program, for which IAPMO has been an important advocate.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (S. 2848) is a comprehensive bill addressing diverse concerns, including lead contamination, sewer overflow control, water system security, drinking water conservation and improving ports and waterways. Among its provisions, the bill will provide about $270 million in mandatory funding for the EPA and other agencies to respond to drinking water emergencies and lead exposure, support needed flood control projects that protect millions of people and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure, and authorize $50 million annually for grants to support the development of new technology that addresses “pressing water challenges.”

The legislation passed by a vote of 95-3. The text of S. 2848 can be found here: http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/141a2eca-1a00-4392-a3f3-b69cc0cec872/edw16572.pdf.

Of specific interest to IAPMO and the plumbing industry is Sec. 7112 of the bill, which formally establishes WaterSense, the EPA’s voluntary program that identifies and promotes water-efficient products, buildings, landscapes, facilities, processes and services that, through voluntary labeling, meet strict performance criteria related to water and energy conservation.

IAPMO and the High-Performance Buildings Coalition, which is chaired by IAPMO’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations Dain Hansen, have long championed WaterSense authorization on Capitol Hill, including the successful passing of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, in April, which also included a section authorizing WaterSense. That bill is being harmonized with similar legislation passed by the House of Representatives before it seeks President Obama’s signature.

IAPMO R&T is a leading provider of WaterSense product certification in the nation and has been a U.S. EPA-licensed provider, accredited by the American National Standards Institute, since 2007, certifying the first high-efficiency toilet to the standard in April of that year. To date, IAPMO R&T, part of The IAPMO Group, has certified thousands of such water-efficient products to the WaterSense specifications.

For more information on the legislation, contact Hansen at 202-445-7514 or dain.hansen@iapmo.org.