Wisconsin updates plumbing code to national standards | The Daily Reporter

Wisconsin updates plumbing code to national standards | The Daily Reporter

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Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) Secretary-designee Dan Hereth on Thursday signed the state’s updated plumbing code after discussion with industry officials and public stakeholders. This is the first update to Wisconsin’s plumbing code since 2009, according to DSPS officials.

Hereth signed the administrative code at the Professional Plumbers Union Local 75 training facility in Madison, where trades students will take their exams featuring the new questions based on the latest standards. State officials said the codes to go into effect Oct. 1.

The state changed the Safety and Professional Services (SPS) codes 381-382 and 384-387, which provide standards and definitions for the design, installation and construction of plumbing systems across Wisconsin. The only code unchanged was SPS 383, which covers private on-site wastewater treatment systems and was updated by a separate committee.

“The plumbing code is a great example of good process. We had our plumbing code council, which is a diverse group of folks from the industry, from plumbers to contractors to other engaged citizens… The amount of participation we got from all angles in the industry really set us up to have a smooth process to get the code out the door and legislative review,” Hereth said.

Wisconsin is the only state in the U.S. with its own plumbing code and modernizing it took comprehensive input from stakeholders, Hereth explained. The state adopted some national standards for water reuse, which impacts sustainability, and increased bacteria control options for healthcare facilities, which will impact public health and safety, he added.

Jeff Beiriger, the executive director of Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Wisconsin (PHCC-WI), said most of the changes to the code were updates to national standards instead of a sweeping overhaul. Wisconsin’s code is a “designer code,” and the flexibility the industry needed was still in the 2010 code, he added.

National standards, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rules for plumbing and fire protection systems, were modernized in the rulemaking process, Beiriger said.

“The biggest thing was: Make sure we keep our code, because it already had a lot of the flexibility we needed in it, and beyond that was bringing it up to date with the standards,” Beiriger added.