Still time left to replace PB pipe

PLANO, TEXAS Homeowners with polybutylene plumbing inside their homes or used for yard service lines outside may qualify for a free replacement of their plumbing system. If they bought their house, mobile home or multifamily structure after Sept. 12, 1999, this may be the first time theyre eligible to participate in the program. The first step for those who purchased residential property since Sept.

PLANO, TEXAS — Homeowners with polybutylene plumbing inside their homes or used for yard service lines outside may qualify for a free replacement of their plumbing system. If they bought their house, mobile home or multifamily structure after Sept. 12, 1999, this may be the first time they’re eligible to participate in the program.

The first step for those who purchased residential property since Sept. 12, 1999, is to inspect the structure’s plumbing.

PB systems are distinguished by flexible, gray plastic pipes joined by plastic or metal insert fittings held in place by small aluminum or copper bands. Inside a home, the pipes may be found in the attic, crawl space or water heater closet, often beneath insulation materials. Outside a home, blue, gray or black piping at the water meter or pipe entry site may indicate the presence of a PB yard service line.

Under the terms of a class-action settlement between consumers and PB pipe manufacturers and raw material suppliers reached seven years ago, systems that qualify for replacement must have been installed between Jan. 1, 1978, and July 31, 1995.

Homeowners, especially those who bought their homes within the past 36 months and find that their properties have PB plumbing that has leaked or that leaks in the future, should call the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center toll-free at 800/392-7591 or visit www.pbpipe.com. The Web site features information needed to file a claim, including a claims eligibility form.

“Homeowners with leaking PB pipe should call the CPRC or access the Web site as soon as possible,” said Tim Taylor, general manager of the Center. “We are eager to inform them about the relief they are eligible to receive and to help them through the plumbing replacement process.”

PB pipe was installed in millions of residential properties in the United States beginning in the late 1970s, but it was not used for DWV piping, yard sprinkler systems, irrigation systems, fire sprinkler systems, sewer lines, faucets or fixtures. PB pipe should not be confused with other types of plastic pipe. The CPRC Web site includes photos of the PB pipes and fittings that qualify for replacement.

A homeowner who has PB plumbing but does not wish to participate in the benefits of the replacement program may be excluded from obtaining relief under this settlement by signing and returning an exclusion request form by Dec. 31. The toll-free number and the Web site have information on how to do this and also have the official Notice of Class Action and Settlement.

Since the conclusion of the class-action suit in the Chancery Court for Obion County, Union City, Tenn., in November 1995, the CPRC has received more than 1.5 million inquiries, and more than 600,000 consumers have filed claims. In the past seven years, the Center has spent more than $500 million re-plumbing more than 300,000 affected houses, mobile homes, multi-unit structures and yard lines.

“The CPRC provides extensive support to qualifying claimants to ensure that eligibility is established quickly and the plumbing replacement takes place with minimum disruption,” Taylor said. “We evaluate the claim and check the basic information. We then send an inspector for a site visit to qualify the home and determine the extent of the work. If you qualify, you can select your own plumber or use one of the plumbers recommended by the CPRC. Our goal is to make the process quick and painless.”