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Special Announcements

Wayne Robbins retired from Columbia Gas (formerly Bay State) after 29 years. He will still be around to help if anyone  needs questions. His phone number is 508-509-5010.

At their regularly scheduled meeting today, the Board addressed some of the issues raised in the recent Inspector Continuing Education class (Session 23)

1. Accessibility of gas shut off valves relating to fireplace inserts and stoves:

The Board considers a manual shutoff valve installed behind a free standing gas stove to be accessible and is therefore allowed. It still must be installed within six feet of the appliance and may utilize an Product Accepted gas flexible connector no longer than three feet long.

The Board also considers a manual shutoff valve installed in a gas fireplace insert to be accessible as long as it is located in the section of the fireplace insert which is not subject to thermal damage during the regular operation of the unit. The shutoff would have to be located in a compartment outside the actual burning area of the fireplace and would also have to include an access door. If the fireplace does not have an access door, the installing contractor would have to install a gas shutoff valve which would be considered accessible by the inspector within six feet of the appliance.

I would like to suggest that if you get a permit filed for a gas fireplace insert, you may want to contact the licensee and let him/her know what the requirement is if the unit does not have an access door. This may help to alleviate issues at the time of inspection.

2. Multiple shower heads utilizing one shower drain:

When sizing the drain, a shower containing a single 2.5gpm shower head will carry a fixture unit value of 2. For every additional shower head installed that may be in use at the same time, carry one fixture unit for each additional 2.5gpm head.

Example: Shower valve with a 2.5gpm head =     2 FUV

4 additional 2.5gpm body sprays   =     4 FUV

Total          =     6 FUV  -  2” drain allowed

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Wayne E. Thomas

Executive Director

Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters

1000 Washington Street - Suite 710

Boston, Ma. 02118-6100


On January 4, 2014, the "Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act" becomes effective nationwide.  This amendment to the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act reduces the allowable lead content of drinking water pipes, pipe fittings and other plumbing fixtures.  Specifically, as of January 4, 2014, it shall be illegal to install pipes, pipe fittings, and other plumbing fixtures that are not "lead free."  "Lead free" is defined as restricting the permissible levels of lead in the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, other plumbing fittings and fixtures to a weighted average of not more than 0.25%.  This new requirement does not apply to pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures that are used exclusively for non-potable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption.  The law also excludes toilets, bidets, urinals, fill valves, flushometer valves, tub fillers, shower valves, service saddles, or water distribution main gate valves that are 2 inches in diameter or larger.

Pursuant to 248 CMR 3.04, only products and materials that have been listed by the Board as Product-accepted shall be used for plumbing and gas fitting work performed in the Commonwealth.  Accordingly, 
effective January 4, 2014, only Board accepted  products that are "lead free" may be utilized with regards to any plumbing providing water for human consumption (unless meeting the exception outlined above).  Installers and inspectors may check their products to determine if they meet these requirements by looking to see if the products are certified to the following standards: 

A.        NSF/ANSI 61-G;

B.        NSF/ANSI 61, section 9-G; OR

C.        Both NSF/ANSI 61 AND NSF/ANSI 372. 

As existing products may still be utilized for non-potable purposes, the Board is not withdrawing product acceptance from any products at this time.  However, the burden of following these requirements shall be on installers.  Plumbing inspectors (who will be covering these requirements in continuing education) shall have the right to question installers, who must be able to prove that no non-compliant products are installed on or after January 4, 2014.