Today, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on crosslinked polyethylene, or PEX, tubing, and unanimously adopted regulations approving PEX water distribution systems into the California Plumbing Code.

The new regulations take effect Aug. 1, 2009.Until then, local jurisdictions can adopt a code to use PEX in new and remodel construction before statewide adoption.

“Today’s decision represents a victory for the trade and for the consumer in California,” saysRich Houle, Uponor associate product manager, commercial. “Contractors and consumers finally have access to an environmentally superior product that will provide a durable solution to the state's aggressive water conditions, while meeting California’s high standards for drinking-water quality.”

Uponor has been actively pursuing the adoption of PEX tubing in the California Plumbing Code since 2000. Three years of litigation resulted in a decision by the CBSC to conduct a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on PEX tubing and its impact on air quality, water quality and performance. In addition, the report evaluates PEX tubing installation, use and disposability, as well as manufacturing processes in the areas of waste, recycling, energy consumption and natural resources.

Conducted from October 2007 through December 2008, the EIR states that the adoption of PEX tubing into the California Plumbing Code with proposed regulations would be “an environmentally superior action with respect to public health and hazards, water quality and air quality.”

Currently, 180 municipalities and counties within the state have approved the use of PEX tubing as an alternate material to copper and other materials used for plumbing piping. Millions of feet of PEX tubing are in use in water distribution systems in residential and commercial applications throughout California. Under the new state plumbing code, the following agencies will adopt regulations for the use of PEX tubing in the types of construction under their jurisdictions:
  • Housing and Community Development (HCD) - residential construction, hotels, motels, etc.

  • Division of State Architect–Structural Safety (DSA-SS) - state-owned buildings, universities, etc.

  • Building Standards Commission (BSC) - commercial construction not state-owned (retail)

  • Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) - hospitals, health care facilities, etc.

Source: Uponor