CHICAGO -- On Dec. 3, 2010 the Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition (PERC) and the Australasian Scientific Review of Reduction of Flows on Plumbing and Drainage Systems (ASFlow) Committee will sign an historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. Both organizations are working on research programs that seek to investigate the impact of reduced water flows in sanitary drainage systems resulting from reductions in water use from plumbing fixtures and fittings, appliances and commercial and institutional equipment.
The need to conduct this research is profound. Many plumbing experts are concerned that we are at or approaching a "tipping point" where a significant number of sanitary waste systems will be adversely affected by drainline transport problems, especially in larger commercial systems that have long horizontal drain lines to the sewer. In fact, the U.S. EPA's WaterSense™ incentive labeling program is holding off developing a specification for High Efficiency Commercial Toilets pending research in the area of drainline transport.
The MoU details several areas of collaboration to ensure that research efforts are not duplicated and that information and research results are shared between the two organizations. In addition, the MoU calls for both organizations to interact internationally with standards developing organizations and other researchers for the betterment of global water efficiency efforts.
Signing the MoU for ASFlow will be Jeffrey Clark of the South Australian Water Corporation and chair of the ASFlow Committee, and for PERC, Peter DeMarco of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), chair of the PERC Technical Committee.
"This is the first MoU that we are aware of that calls for international collaboration on water efficiency research efforts" says DeMarco. "We can learn a great deal from our interactions with ASFlow and being able to develop our efforts building upon their knowledge and experience will be extremely important for PERC."
PERC has recently developed a low-cost work plan for investigating reduced flows in drainage systems, with input from ASFlow, and is seeking funding to conduct their research program. PERC is hopeful that their program will receive funding and that work will commence in 2011.