This week: The House passed a series of non-controversial bills dealing with law enforcement and first responders to honor National Police Week. The Senate confirmed several sub-cabinet nominations. Next Week: The House will address various issues relating to veterans. The Senate will consider several nominations. Congress Offers Infrastructure Plans With IAPMO Support. As part of Infrastructure Week, members of Congress introduced multibillion-dollar infrastructure investments ahead of President Donald Trump’s plan to modernize the energy grid, bridges, roads and sewers. Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Clean, Safe, Reliable Water Infrastructure Act (S. 1137) to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act to make more funds available to address lead contamination from aging pipes and combined overflows of stormwater and sewer water in cities. The bill includes $1.8 billion for combined sewer overflows. The bill also authorizes EPA’s WaterSense Program, which IAPMO has been advocating. Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s America Act, or LIFT America Act (H.R.2479). It includes $25.6 billion over a five-year period for improvements to crumbling and corroding drinking water systems. The bill also includes over $1.1 billion in new funding over five years to remove and replace sources of lead in drinking water, monitoring for lead in school drinking water, and replacement of drinking fountains and other lead plumbing fixtures in schools. The release of both bills coincided with a flurry of activities this week in Washington, D.C., to highlight the crucial role infrastructure plays in growing the economy. Representatives from business and organized labor, highway planners and water utility engineers, environmental advocates and infrastructure economists have lobbied Congress and the White House about what they think an infrastructure package should include. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has promised the outlines of Trump’s $1 trillion plan will be released in the next several weeks. More details can be found here<http://www.iapmo.org/
Press%20Releases/2017-05-17% 20IAPMO%20S-1137%20WaterSense% 20Infrastructure%20Bill.pdf> in IAPMO’s press release
Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2017) — Kicking off the fifth annual Infrastructure Week, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jon Boozman (R-AR) on Tuesday introduced The Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act, bipartisan omnibus infrastructure legislation seeking to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to add provisions relating to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, including the formal federal establishment of the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense℠ program, which would extend the vastly successful water efficiency product labeling program in perpetuity. IAPMO has been a vocal proponent of WaterSense since its inception more than a decade ago.
A poll commissioned by the Value of Water Campaign revealed that 67 percent of Americans believe rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure is an extremely or very important priority — the highest percentage of any other national issue by a double-digit margin. Infrastructure Week (www.infrastructureweek.org, #timetobuild) brings together 280 affiliate organizations for a national week of events, media coverage, education, and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans.
“Infrastructure is a priority of the Trump Administration and this Congress, and we are thrilled that Congress recognizes the importance that demand-side water contributes to our nation’s overall foundation,” said Dain Hansen, Senior Vice President of IAPMO Government Affairs. “We look forward to working across all parties and both chambers of congress to settle on language that can be signed into law officially recognizing the WaterSense program.”
Modeled after the ENERGY STAR program, WaterSense is a labeling and recognition program that seeks to protect the future of the U.S. water supply by offering consumers a simple way to make product-purchasing choices that conserve water with no sacrifice to quality or performance. Services and products earning the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient than average products in the same category without affecting performance. Such products include toilets, urinals, showerheads, bathroom faucets, landscape irrigation controllers, and pre-rinse spray valves.
“Underfunding of our vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is an issue we cannot ignore,” Cardin said. “Year after year, Sen. Boozman and I work together to combat America’s growing need for repairs to its aging drinking water and wastewater systems. We recognize the public health risk and economic jeopardy from a growing population placing greater demands on a water infrastructure system that is nearing the end of its useful life.”
“This legislation helps tackle costs that come with making changes to water and sewer systems that have served millions of people for more than a century, but have become outdated and a threat to public health and the environment,” Boozman said.
IAPMO Research and Testing, Inc. (“IAPMO R&T”) is the 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 (ANSI), from the beginning, certifying the first high-efficiency toilet (HET) to the standard in April 2007. To date, IAPMO R&T, part of The IAPMO Group, has certified thousands of such water-efficient products to the WaterSense specifications.
S. 1137 would also amend the revolving loan program under the Safe Drinking Water Act to make planning, design, and associated preconstruction activities, replacement or rehabilitation of aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities, and public water system security measures eligible for assistance, and affirm the use of state revolving loan funds as security for state bonds.
Furthermore, the legislation would place additional focus on shortcomings in wastewater infrastructure by reauthorizing Section 221 of the Clean Water Act, which authorizes grants for addressing combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and stormwater discharges, totaling $1.8 billion over five years.
Friday was the annual IPIA Continuing Education Program. Photos will be up soon. THANK YOU to everyone that made it such a success again this year.
In addition to our wonderful education speakers, we had many vendors/product demonstrations in attendance. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by their booth but wanted to find out more, here is the list:
|1||Deery Pardue||Uponor||Eric Tyler (& Mark Nasuta)||firstname.lastname@example.org||630-967-8667||1000 Industrial Dr Unit 2A, Bensenville IL 60106||630-350-7575|
|2||Mid-Continent Marketing||American Standard, Watts||Jason Romano||jromano@MCMSL.com||630-973-0056||1275 Lakeside Dr, Romeoville IL 60446||630-953-1211|
|2||Mid-Continent Marketing||American Standard, Watts||Joshua Goedenemail@example.com||630-327-1195||1275 Lakeside Dr, Romeoville IL 60446||630-953-1211|
|3||Elfco||Brian Mansmithfirstname.lastname@example.org||708-323-8636||9860 Clearvue Ct, Mokena IL 60448||708-478-6464|
|4||Howards Products||Dave Howardemail@example.com||630-548-0190||424 Fort Hill Dr #111, Naperville IL 60540|
|5||Lubrizol||John Pritchardfirstname.lastname@example.org||312-215-2089||304 W Hiawatha Trail, Mt Prospect IL 60056||224-735-3042|
|6||Hemingway Chimney||Mike Geagan||Mike@hemchim.com||708-363-5028||16940 Vincennes Ave, South Holland IL 60473||708-333-0395|
|7||Moen Commercial||KC Akalaonuemail@example.com||815-527-1463||2484 Bridle Cir, Round Lake Beach IL 60073|
|8||Cobra||concrete cutting services||Dan Foleyfirstname.lastname@example.org||847-833-5111||2416 E Oakton, Arlington Heights IL 60005||224-222-1150|
|9||Hart, Travers & Associates||Sioux Chief, AK, Canplas, Zoeller Pumps||Jeff St. Ongeemail@example.com||630-648-9200||325 Eisenhower Ln North, Lombard IL 60148||630-261-1166|
|10||HSA Herkowski Stickler & Associates||Mick Bradfordfirstname.lastname@example.org||630-688-2635||340 County Line Rd Ste B, Bensenville IL 60106||630-458-8816|
|11||Lochinvar||high efficiency boilers & water heaters||Trevor McDougallemail@example.com||312-489-3704||801 Chase Ave Unit E Elk Grove Village IL 60007||847-725-6627|
|12||Test Gauge & Backflow Supply||RPZ test gauges & valve supplies||Rick Marvelfirstname.lastname@example.org||224-628-8724||2587 Millennium Dr Unit K2, Elgin IL 60124||866-836-8692|
|13||HOK Sales||Amtrol||Mark Dodgeemail@example.com||847-691-5771||245 W Roosevelt Rd Bldg 12 Ste 83, West Chicago IL 60185||800-323-4498|
|14||Viega||Dan Courtneyfirstname.lastname@example.org||630-299-6132||Willowbrook IL||800-976-9819|
|16||Canature Water Group||Novo||Nate Wellsemail@example.com||763-442-7376||9760 Mayflower Park Dr Ste 110, Carmel IN 46032||877-288-9888|
|16||Canature Water Group||Novo||KC Holcombfirstname.lastname@example.org||630-460-7928||657 Clarendon Ln, Aurora IL 60504||877-288-9888|
|17||Metropolitan Industries||Mark Brickeyemail@example.com||815-886-9200||37 Forestwood Dr, Romeoville IL 60446|
|18||Inland Sales Group||Trac pipe||Philip Traynorfirstname.lastname@example.org||630-470-7042||7638 Plaza Ct, Willowbrook IL 60527||630-850-7750|
|19||Norton McMurray||Normac||Frank Vignieriemail@example.com||630-232-8111||PO Box 588, Geneva IL 60134|
|21||TJ Higgins Co.||Tom Higgins IV (& Connor & Frank Higgins)||firstname.lastname@example.org||630-327-3134||265 Lies Rd, Carol Stream IL 60188||630-752-9400|
Recent editions of the International Code Council’s (ICC) model building codes employ greater emphasis on automatic sprinkler systems as a life safety and property protection alternative to passive fire-resistive construction.
Where past editions of the International Building Code and International Residential Code relied heavily on passive fire-resistive construction to confine and control unwanted fires, new materials, designs and equipment have made fire sprinklers a desirable design option at a lower cost.
This evolution is not without critics, however, as some fire safety and construction advocates are concerned that such significant reliance on fire sprinkler systems creates an unanticipated vulnerability if the fire protection system fails to operate as designed.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire sprinklers are highly effective. Its June 2013 report, U.S. Experience with Sprinklers, includes the following data:
Excluding buildings under construction and buildings without sprinklers in the fire area, sprinklers operated in 91 percent of all reported structure fires large enough to activate them.
When sprinklers operated, they were effective 96 percent of the time, resulting in a combined performance of operating effectively in 87 percent of all reported fires.
Wet pipe sprinklers operated effectively 89 percent of the time, and dry pipe sprinklers operated effectively in 76 percent of cases.
As effective as they may be, like any mechanical system, fire sprinklers must be designed, installed, inspected, tested and maintained to enhance their reliability. Installing a system, then ignoring it, is a dangerous practice that can have serious consequences.
Fire sprinkler acceptance testing
Once a fire sprinkler system has been designed and installed, both the International Building Code and International Fire Code require suitable testing to confirm the system was installed as intended, and will perform as expected. In fact, the International Fire Code prohibits building occupancy until the tests have been performed and approved by the code official.
In order to assure that proper testing and documentation has been prepared, the NFPA has created a Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. Although not required by the international codes, this consensus document outlines inspector and tester qualifications, and recommends the following steps in the commissioning process:
- Verify that installation is in accordance with working drawings.
- Inspect overall installation as outlined in the commissioning plan.
- Perform pre-functional testing of all systems to provide proper functionality and to ensure interoperability.
- Perform and document testing of all systems to provide proper functionality, to ensure integration, and to ensure the systems were left in a state of operational readiness.
- Update owner project requirements and address any outstanding issues.
- Update commissioning plan/record.
- Issue completion/acceptance phase commissioning progress report.
- Verify compliance and accuracy of sequence of operation.
A commissioning team following the NFPA Recommended Practice can be confident it is meeting or exceeding the current standard of care for fire sprinkler testing. Any code official would be happy to obtain this level of testing and documentation to evaluate the fire protection systems’ readiness and reliability.
Even the simplest fire sprinkler system has a series of tests that should be accomplished before the system is declared ready for service and the building ready for occupancy. A fire sprinkler system connected to a municipal water supply has at least two tests and inspections that should be accomplished before occupancy. Systems that are connected to private water supplies, elevated or suction tanks, have cross-contamination prevention apparatus or are equipped with fire pumps that have even more required tests.
Underground acceptance tests
The underground water line between the municipal source and fire protection system (or backflow prevention device, if mandated) requires two important tests outlined in NFPA 24: Standard for the Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances. The first is a hydrostatic pressure test and the second is a flush to assure there is no residual debris in the pipe before connecting it to the fire protection system.
Once laid in the trench and supported or anchored to prevent movement, underground pipe must undergo hydrostatic pressure test at a gauge pressure of 200 psi or 50 psi in excess of the system working pressure, whichever is greater. (If, for example, the incoming water pressure were 183 psi, the underground pipe would have to be tested to 233 psi.) The test pressure must be maintained at gauge pressure of ±5 psi for two hours. If there is no visible leakage or the gauge pressure loses less than 5 psi, the test is considered successful.
Underground piping, from the water supply to the system riser, and lead-in connections to the system riser also must be completely flushed at a rate of no less than 10 feet per second before the connection is made to downstream fire protection system piping (see Table 1). The flushing operation must continue until water flow is verified to be clear of debris.
If a backflow prevention assembly is installed in the supply line to isolate the fire protection system from the potable water source, the device must be “forward flow” tested to ensure proper operation.
Aboveground acceptance tests
Once inside the building, the aboveground portion of the sprinkler system must undergo a series of tests and inspections prior to occupancy. The tests are prescribed to one or more of the three NFPA standards on fire sprinkler system design and installation as well as the building and fire codes. (NFPA has sprinkler system design standards for one- and two-family dwellings and manufactured homes; for low-rise residential occupancies (generally up to four stories); and all other applications.)
Once the sprinkler pipe is installed (or portions are complete in large or complex projects) it, too, must undergo a hydrostatic pressure test to verify there are no leaks. Where the fire sprinkler system is equipped with a fire department connection that enables a fire pumper to boost the internal pressure, the system must be tested to 200 psi for two hours. The hydrostatic test gauge should be placed on the lowest branch line. If weather conditions are near freezing, an “interim” 40 psi air test may be conducted to test for leaks, but a 200 psi hydrostatic test still must be conducted before final approval.
Piping between the exterior fire department connection and the check valve in the fire department connection inlet pipe must be hydrostatically tested in the same manner as the balance of the system. After repair or replacement work affecting the fire department connection, the piping between the exterior and the check valve in the fire department connection inlet pipe must be isolated and hydrostatically tested at 150 psi.
Small specialty systems or equipment in for one- and two-family dwellings and manufactured homes may not require a fire department connection. In those cases, a hydrostatic test at the normal system operating pressure is satisfactory.
Acceptance tests based on system “types”
There are four basic “types” of fire sprinkler systems described in NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems:
Wet pipe where there is water in the pipe network at all times. These systems generally are installed where ambient temperatures above 40 F can be maintained,
Dry pipe where the sprinkler pipe contains air or dry nitrogen under pressures sufficient to keep the main control valve closed. When a sprinkler opens, the gas is emitted and water fills the pipe network,
Pre-action that is similar to a dry pipe system where there is only a nominal, supervisory pressure in the sprinkler pipe, and some other action — such as the operation of a smoke detector — opens the main control valve to let water into the overhead pipe, and,
Deluge where another device — such as a smoke or heat detector or even a manual emergency release — opens the main control valve and water flows from every sprinkler in the system.
In addition to the hydrostatic or pneumatic tests to verify the pipe’s integrity, each of the system types requires additional performance tests.
Wet pipe systems generally are the simplest to test. There are two tests to perform: waterflow detecting devices and fire alarm system circuits must be flow tested through the inspector’s test connection and produce an audible alarm on the premises within five minutes after the flow begins and until it stops.
The second test, called the main drain test, evaluates the condition of the incoming water supply. The main drain valve located on the system riser is opened and runs at full flow until the system pressure stabilizes. The incoming pressure should be documented so it can be compared against future main drain tests as required by the International Fire Code and performed in accordance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Extinguishing Systems.
For dry pipe sprinkler systems, in addition to the standard hydrostatic test, an air pressure leakage test at 40 psi must be conducted for 24 hours. Any leakage that results in a loss of pressure in excess of 11/2 psi for the 24 hours must be corrected.
A dry pipe trip test also is performed. In this test, the inspector’s test valve — located at the highest, most remote part of the system — is opened. The test measures the elapsed time to open or trip the main valve and the time for water to be discharged from the inspector’s test outlet. All times are measured from the time the inspector’s test connection is completely opened. The trip test also is used to document the system air pressure where the dry pipe valve opens. Dry pipe systems also require main drain tests similar to wet pipe systems.
Preaction and deluge sprinkler systems require that their main operating valves be tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. These systems are more complex because of the integration of other detection and operating devices that are needed to operate the main valves. When testing a deluge valve, normally the main control valve is isolated from the distribution pipe so water is not discharged, however, the client may insist that a full flow test is performed. These systems also require main drain tests similar to wet pipe systems.
If, because of excess incoming pressure, systems are equipped with pressure-reducing valves, each one must be tested to ensure proper operation under-flow and no-flow conditions. Testing is performed to verify that the device properly regulates outlet pressure at both maximum and normal inlet pressure conditions.
Finally, if the system is equipped with a backflow prevention assembly, it must be forward flow tested to ensure proper operation.
Nearly every sprinkler system installed under modern codes is required to have supervisory equipment that monitor and report water flow, high or low air pressure, high or low water temperature or “tamper” a signal that reports whether a control valve is in the open or closed position. More sophisticated systems may have even more complex supervisory devices, all of which must be tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and often in compliance with NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
There’s a fire service adage that “the job ain’t done until the paperwork’s finished.” This is equally true for acceptance testing fire protection systems. The International Building Code, International Fire Code and all of the NFPA documents mentioned in this article require various tests and are properly documented to show they have been completed and meet the requirements of the codes and standards. The international codes also require a “statement of compliance” that the installing contractor attests the system has been installed in accordance with the approved plans, manufacturer’s equipment requirements and appropriate national standard. Any deviations from these must be included in the report.
The NFPA documents include model reporting forms, and some fire or building code officials may be able to provide forms that satisfy their requirements.
Fire sprinkler systems are highly reliable when they are designed and installed in accordance with national standards. The importance of acceptance tests required by the international codes to verify they will perform as expected cannot be overlooked. Project managers and engineers must be diligent to assure these tests are done and documented before turning the building over to their clients. NFPA 3 Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems can provide professional guidance to assure nothing is missed.
Bipartisan Water Contamination Bill to Make Debut in Senate. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) are a bipartisan pair know for their collaborative work on energy efficiency-related bills. However, the two have partnered again this week to introduce a bill meant to spur more research into unregulated, poorly understood drinking water contaminants. The legislation would order the EPA and other federal agencies to get more involved in helping communities that have discovered these contaminants in their water. However, the bill stops short of creating new requirements for water utilities. Instead, it creates a new assistance program to help states expand their testing capabilities. EPA’s drinking water regulators have set limits on several well-known contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and others. But in recent years, the EPA has recognized that many other potential contaminants, while not regulated, can still lead to serious health problems. This includes perfluorinated chemicals, which have been linked to cancer and other illnesses when the long-lasting chemicals seep into groundwater wells. The city of Portsmouth in Shaheen’s home state was forced to shut down one of its wells in 2014 after water samples there showed high levels of these chemicals. Perfluorinated chemicals have also shown up in drinking water in other towns elsewhere in New Hampshire. Another unregulated contaminant is cyanotoxin, which can be a byproduct of algae blooms caused by excessive runoff into water bodies. A large bloom in Lake Erie in 2014 forced the city of Toledo in Portman’s home state to temporarily shut off its residents’ drinking water for several days. Portman and Shaheen’s bill would require the EPA and other agencies to develop a research plan that would generate better data on the effects of water contaminants like these. It would also require these agencies to produce a study on the scientific community’s understanding of these contaminants and on how the federal government can help expand this field of knowledge.
Can EPA Get the Lead Out Amid Deregulatory Push. As part of the fallout from Flint, Michigan, the EPA acknowledged the flaws in its standards that govern how water utilities must manage their lead pipes and had been been working for years to beef them up. However, proponents are worried that the new lead rules may end up getting snared in the White House's deregulatory efforts. One of the first actions of the new Trump administration was to issue a new set of constraints on agencies that require them to offset the costs of new regulations by repealing or revising existing ones. The policy also requires the agencies to offset the costs of any new regulations by repealing other regulations that currently impose equal costs. The updated lead standards are expected to impose tens of billions of dollars in costs on water utilities and others because they will likely require the replacement of lead pipes nationwide. Water experts worry about where the EPA could find enough offsets for a rule that costly. The EPA's Lead and Copper Rule is the primary tool for regulating lead in drinking water. First issued in 1991, it requires water utilities to put in place measures that prevent the corrosion of lead pipes and to monitor lead concentrations in their water. Additionally, the rule lays out what actions utilities must take if those concentrations go above a certain threshold. The EPA has been working since 2014 to update the rules specifically looking to reduce the amount of lead allowed in drinking water and requiring utilities to replace lead service lines. Lead was largely phased out of new plumbing materials in the U.S. decades ago, but millions of homes still have lead fixtures or service lines that transport drinking water from the mains in the street. A survey last year pegged the number at more than six million across the country, with the highest concentrations in mid-sized towns in the northeast and the Great Lakes regions. With the cost of replacement ranging anywhere from $2,500 to $8,000 per pipe, the nationwide total for this mandate could be as high as $80 billion.