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DOE Reverses Trump-Era Plumbing Water Use Standards


By Dan Hounsell Plumbing & Restrooms

Water conservation remains a high priority for maintenance and engineering managers looking to help their organizations control utility costs, achieve sustainability and wellness goals, and protect the health of facility occupants and visitors. Now managers are getting support from the federal government in the form of a policy reversal. 

The U.S. Department of Energy recently reversed weakened showerhead standards adopted under the Trump Administration. Since 1994, showerheads have been limited to a 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) standard, and in 2013 this requirement was amended to ensure the 2.5 gpm standard applies to fixtures with more than one showerhead. 

The Trump-era rules allowed each individual showerhead to meet the 2.5 gpm standard — or example, a fixture with three showerheads could use 7.5 gpm — while also exempting body sprays from the standard. 

“This announcement restores the successful showerhead standards that had been in place since 1994,” says Ron Burke, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The weakened rules could have led to billions of gallons of additional water consumption, an increase in energy use and power plant emissions, and increased consumer water bills. With much of the country struggling with drought, the 2020 changes could have further compromised water supply availability for many water utilities.”

Dan Hounsell is senior editor, facility group. 

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