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Plumbing Code Highlights and Technical Information

New Law Regarding The Amount Of Lead In Plumbing Fixtures, Pipe and Solder

Effective January 1, 2010, a new law (known as “Act 193”) restricting the sale or use of plumbing fixtures, pipes and solder, with lead amounts that are above the new limits applies in all plumbing fixtures which convey or distribute water for human consumption (i.e. water that is used for cooking or drinking). The restrictions of Act 193 apply in all buildings, even those buildings not covered by the Plumbing Rules.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office has issued guidance on Act 193 and lead in plumbing supplies

For additional information on Act 193, please visit the Vermont Attorney General’s website or call 802-828-5507.

Backflow preventers for boilers with antifreeze and/or conditioning chemicals

Section 608.16.2 of the 2015 IPC Plumbing Code states that the potable supply to a boiler shall be equipped with a backflow preventer with an intermediate atmospheric vent complying with ASSE 1012 or CAN/CSA B64.3. Where conditioning chemicals or antifreeze are introduced into the system, the potable water connection shall be protected by an air gap or a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer complying with ASSE 1013 CAN/CSA B64.4 or AWWA C511.

Mixing valve requirements on a domestic water heater

Whenever a new or replacement water heater is installed after Feb. 1, 2005, a mixing valve shall be installed. The mixing valve must meet ASSE 1017 which is addressed in section 613.1 of the 2015 IPC Plumbing Code. This standard ensures that if for any reason the valve should fail; it fails to the cold position. The definition of a water heater is any device that heats hot water. This requirement also applies to tankless water heaters that supply hot water to more than one fixture.

At its meeting on November 18, 2008, the Vermont Plumbers’ Examining Board considered whether Vermont Public Act 92 of the 2008 legislature, which invalidated a requirement to heat water in a hot water tank to 140 degrees, also invalidated a requirement in section 602.2 of the 2003 International Plumbing Code as amended in Article 2, Section 2 of the 2004 Vermont Plumbing Rules requiring a thermostatic mixing valve? That section reads:

-amend-602.2 Potable water required. Only potable water shall be supplied to plumbing fixtures that provide water for drinking, bathing or culinary purposes, or for the processing of food, medical or pharmaceutical products. Unless otherwise required by law, potable water shall be supplied to all plumbing fixtures at a maximum temperature of 120°F (49°).

The Board passed a motion reaffirming the rule requiring “the installation of a master thermostatic mixing valve to maintain a maximum temperature of 120 degrees at the plumbing fixture. The thermostatic mixing valve shall meet the requirements of an ASSE 1017 mixing valve.” The only way to meet this 120 degree maximum temperature at the fixture 100 percent of the time is to control the temperature after the heating source and before the end point of the plumbing fixture with a mixing valve that meets the ASSE 1017.

Maximum hot water temperature allowed

120 degrees Fahrenheit unless otherwise required by law. This is referenced in section 602.2 as amended by 2015  Vermont Plumbing Rules (2015 IPC). A good guideline is that any faucet that you can put your hand under, must meet this requirement. Dishwashers do not have to meet this requirement because you cannot put your hands into them.

Public building definition

The definition can be found in the Fire and Building Safety Code. The definition is quite detailed, but a rule of thumb is anything other than an owner occupied single family dwelling. See the Code for actual definitions and descriptions.

Low water fuel cut off and test switch

All hot water heating boilers installed after January 1, 1991 shall have the low water fuel cut off installed. The NBIC, which is the reference standard in the Fire Prevention Rules states, “A means shall be provided for testing the operation of the external low water fuel cut off without resorting to draining the entire system. Such means shall not render the device inoperable except as follows. If the means temporarily isolates the device from the boiler during this testing, it shall automatically return to its normal position. The connection may be so arranged that the device cannot be shut off from the boiler except by a cock placed at the device and provided with a tee or lever handle arranged to be parallel to the pipe in which it is located when the cock is open.”

Temperature controls on boilers in a public building

NFPA 31 requires that each individual automatically fired hot water heating or hot water supply boiler shall have a safety limit control that will cut off the fuel supply to prevent water temperature from exceeding the maximum allowable temperature at the boiler outlet. This water temperature safety control shall be constructed to prevent a temperature setting above the maximum allowable temperature. Also, each individual hot water heating or hot water supply boiler or each system of commonly connected boilers without intervening valves shall have a control that will cut off the fuel supply when the temperature reaches an operating limit which shall be less than the maximum allowable temperature. Table A.10-5.4 of NFPA 31 also requires “One manual reset type limit control, which requires local manual intervention to reset”.

Waterless Urinals

The Vermont State Plumbing board made a ruling on 1.8.08 that states: Mechanical trap inserts on Waterless urinals are prohibited to be used on a new or existing urinal in the state of Vermont.
All waterless urinals installations still need an approval by the plumbing Examining board before they are installed. There are (7) requirement that shall be met:

  1. Urinals must be approved by the Vermont Plumbing Examining Board before installation in Vermont.
  2. A reliable maintenance program must be established for servicing the units.
  3. Units must meet ANSI / ASME standards.
  4. Water must be brought to each urinal location.
  5. Documentation must be provided relative to the performance of these units at the completion of the first year in use. This documentation must be submitted to the department of public safety for review.
  6. Where required, units must be ADA compliant.
  7. All installations shall obtain approval from G.J. Garrow (Chairman of the Plumbing Examining Board) prior to installation.

Backflow Preventers in Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems Memorandum

A memorandum went out on Januarey 25, 2016 regarding Backflow Preventers to be installed on Automatic Fire Sprinkler System with Outside Connection (2015 IPC § 608.16.4 Connections to Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems And Stand Pipe Systems)

This memorandum provides guidance regarding the installation of Backflow Preventers on Automatic Sprinkler Systems. On December 17, 2015 a meeting was held in the Berlin Central Office with a wide range of stakeholders including division of fire safety personnel, sprinkler contractors, sprinkler system designers, fire departments, backflow specialists, water system operators, and members of the Health- Environmental Health Division, Agency of Natural Resources- the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division.

  1. If a municipality has an ordinance/program requiring (backflow prevention and cross-connection) the municipality’s ordinance/program would be in effect. If no local rules are in place, the rules set forth by the Division of Fire Safety (2015 – Vermont Plumbing Rules and Regulations) and the Agency of natural resources (Water supply Rules- Chapter 21) shall be followed. The more stringent of rules shall apply.

  2. The minimum standard for backflow protection on a potable water feed to a wet sprinkler system with an outside connection used in case of an emergency fed by the same potable water source shall be protected by a testable double check valve assembly. (IPC 2015- 608.16.4, 608.13.7).

  3. A potable water system supplying water to a wet sprinkler system with an outside connection that may be supplied from a lake, pond or stream thru this outside connection, must be carefully evaluated and by code would require the installation of a (RPZ) testable reduced pressure principle backflow preventer. (IPC-2015- 608.16.4, 608.13.2).Discharge from ( RPZ) shall be directed to a safe point of discharge. (608.14.2.1).  

  4. All potable water system connections shall be protected by a (RPZ) testable reduced pressure principle backflow preventer or air gap when any chemical is to be introduced into the fire sprinkler system or to be injected into an automatic fire protected system through a stand pipe. (IPC-2015 - 608.16.4.1, 608.13.2).Discharge from RPZ will also need to direct to a safe point or discharge. (608.14.2.1).

  5. Testing needed on all Backflow prevention devices with testing ports, shall be tested at the time of installation, immediately after repairs or relocation and at least annually. (IPC 2015- 312.10.2).Report back to water purveyor.

    If you have any questions pertaining to this issue or if you feel additional clarification is needed please contact me directly at (802) 770-8473 or email me at