Knollenberg Bill Flowing Along
“There are ongoing negotiations to satisfy environmentalists, manufacturers and customers,” Maisano said. “We have something that both sides seem interested in. We’re confident we’ll get something finished by year’s end.”
The bill, known as H.R. 859 or the Plumbing Standards Improvement Act of 1997 in Washington D.C., is designed to “amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act  to eliminate certain regulation of plumbing supplies.” Knollenberg introduced the bill in March.
Specifically, the bill will restore water flow rates back to levels well above the current 1.6 gpf toilets and 2.5 gpm shower heads.
The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) is fighting the bill because it could potentially create thousands of local regulations as more than 3,000 state and local communities nationwide may choose to determine flow rate requirements.
“We have not changed our position,” said Dick Church, president of PMI. “[The bill] hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still an issue.”
Since the restrictions were enacted, plumbers and supply stores have been flooded with complaints from unsatisfied customers. Although the law provides for fines as high as $2,500 for using illegal toilets, black markets for them have developed across the country because of their more effective flushing capabilities.
“The current restrictions are ludicrous,” said Knollenberg. “They force consumers to either become lawbreakers or live with shower heads that dribble and toilets that simply don’t get the job done.”