United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 20, 2024

§ 300g–6.
Prohibition on use of lead pipes, solder, and flux
(a)
In general
(1)
Prohibitions
(A)
In general
No person may use any pipe, any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, any solder, or any flux, after June 19, 1986, in the installation or repair of—
(i)
any public water system; or
(ii)
any plumbing in a residential or nonresidential facility providing water for human consumption,
that is not lead free (within the meaning of subsection (d)).
(B)
Leaded joints

Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to leaded joints necessary for the repair of cast iron pipes.

(2)
Public notice requirements
(A)
In general
Each owner or operator of a public water system shall identify and provide notice to persons that may be affected by lead contamination of their drinking water where such contamination results from either or both of the following:
(i)
The lead content in the construction materials of the public water distribution system.
(ii)
Corrosivity of the water supply sufficient to cause leaching of lead.
The notice shall be provided in such manner and form as may be reasonably required by the Administrator. Notice under this paragraph shall be provided notwithstanding the absence of a violation of any national drinking water standard.
(B)
Contents of notice
Notice under this paragraph shall provide a clear and readily understandable explanation of—
(i)
the potential sources of lead in the drinking water,
(ii)
potential adverse health effects,
(iii)
reasonably available methods of mitigating known or potential lead content in drinking water,
(iv)
any steps the system is taking to mitigate lead content in drinking water, and
(v)
(3)
Unlawful acts
Effective 2 years after August 6, 1996, it shall be unlawful—
(A)
for any person to introduce into commerce any pipe, or any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, that is not lead free, except for a pipe that is used in manufacturing or industrial processing;
(B)
for any person engaged in the business of selling plumbing supplies, except manufacturers, to sell solder or flux that is not lead free; or
(C)
for any person to introduce into commerce any solder or flux that is not lead free unless the solder or flux bears a prominent label stating that it is illegal to use the solder or flux in the installation or repair of any plumbing providing water for human consumption.
(4)
Exemptions
The prohibitions in paragraphs (1) and (3) shall not apply to—
(A)
pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, or fixtures, including backflow preventers, that are used exclusively for nonpotable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where the water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption; or
(B)
toilets, bidets, urinals, fill valves, flushometer valves, tub fillers, shower valves, fire hydrants, service saddles, or water distribution main gate valves that are 2 inches in diameter or larger.
(b)
State enforcement
(1)
Enforcement of prohibition

The requirements of subsection (a)(1) shall be enforced in all States effective 24 months after June 19, 1986. States shall enforce such requirements through State or local plumbing codes, or such other means of enforcement as the State may determine to be appropriate.

(2)
Enforcement of public notice requirements

The requirements of subsection (a)(2) shall apply in all States effective 24 months after June 19, 1986.

(c)
Penalties

If the Administrator determines that a State is not enforcing the requirements of subsection (a) as required pursuant to subsection (b), the Administrator may withhold up to 5 percent of Federal funds available to that State for State program grants under section 300j–2(a) of this title.

(d)
Definition of lead free
(1)
In general
For the purposes of this section, the term “lead free” means—
(A)
not containing more than 0.2 percent lead when used with respect to solder and flux; and
(B)
not more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.
(2)
Calculation

The weighted average lead content of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, or fixture shall be calculated by using the following formula: For each wetted component, the percentage of lead in the component shall be multiplied by the ratio of the wetted surface area of that component to the total wetted surface area of the entire product to arrive at the weighted percentage of lead of the component. The weighted percentage of lead of each wetted component shall be added together, and the sum of these weighted percentages shall constitute the weighted average lead content of the product. The lead content of the material used to produce wetted components shall be used to determine compliance with paragraph (1)(B). For lead content of materials that are provided as a range, the maximum content of the range shall be used.

(e)
Plumbing fittings and fixtures
(1)
In general

The Administrator shall provide accurate and timely technical information and assistance to qualified third-party certifiers in the development of voluntary standards and testing protocols for the leaching of lead from new plumbing fittings and fixtures that are intended by the manufacturer to dispense water for human ingestion.

(2)
Standards
(A)
In general

If a voluntary standard for the leaching of lead is not established by the date that is 1 year after August 6, 1996, the Administrator shall, not later than 2 years after August 6, 1996, promulgate regulations setting a health-effects-based performance standard establishing maximum leaching levels from new plumbing fittings and fixtures that are intended by the manufacturer to dispense water for human ingestion. The standard shall become effective on the date that is 5 years after the date of promulgation of the standard.

(B)
Alternative requirement

If regulations are required to be promulgated under subparagraph (A) and have not been promulgated by the date that is 5 years after August 6, 1996, no person may import, manufacture, process, or distribute in commerce a new plumbing fitting or fixture, intended by the manufacturer to dispense water for human ingestion, that contains more than 4 percent lead by dry weight.

(f)
Public education
(1)
In general
The Administrator shall make information available to the public regarding lead in drinking water, including information regarding—
(A)
risks associated with lead in drinking water;
(B)
the conditions that contribute to drinking water containing lead in a residence;
(C)
steps that States, public water systems, and consumers can take to reduce the risks of lead in drinking water; and
(D)
the availability of additional resources that consumers can use to minimize lead exposure, including information on sampling for lead in drinking water.
(2)
Vulnerable populations

In making information available to the public under this subsection, the Administrator shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, carry out targeted outreach strategies that focus on educating groups within the general population that may be at greater risk than the general population of adverse health effects from exposure to lead in drinking water.

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XIV, § 1417, as added Pub. L. 99–339, title I, § 109(a), June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 651; amended Pub. L. 104–182, title I, § 118, title V, § 501(f)(1), Aug. 6, 1996, 110 Stat. 1645, 1691; Pub. L. 111–380, § 2(a), Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 4131; Pub. L. 113–64, § 2, Dec. 20, 2013, 127 Stat. 668; Pub. L. 114–322, title II, § 2106(b), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1726.)
cite as: 42 USC 300g-6