Part three of this three-part article the impact of local plumbing codes.

It’s important that distributors selling chemical proportioners know the plumbing codes of any state they do business in as well as how to help facilities stay in compliance.

“It’s the responsibility of companies supplying chemicals and chemical dispensing equipment to educate end users on local plumbing codes which may or may not follow state regulations,” says Brass Clarkson, marketing communications and product development manager for DEMA Engineering Company, St. Louis.

Plumbing codes can be complex and are subject to change. In fact, each state and locality can have its own rules.

“One of the main differences in plumbing codes is whether an air gap or action gap backflow preventer is required,” says Adrian Cook, marketing manager for cleaning chemicals for 3M, St. Paul, Minnesota. “In most cases the action gap is accepted, however, certain states and municipalities require an air gap. Secondly, certain plumbing codes require a pressure relief valve at the point where the dispenser connects to the faucet.”

Proportioners should be approved to ASSE 1055 to ensure that they meet backflow requirements, says Matt Hayas, global product manager for Hydro Systems Company, Cincinnati.

“Chemical dispensing equipment is addressed in the Uniform Plumbing Code and the International Plumbing code under the test standards ASSE 1055B and ASME A112.1.3 for backflow prevention,” adds Clarkson.

The ASSE 1055B standard regulates the most common of backflow preventers, whereas ASME A112.1.3 regulates an older and less efficient backflow preventer known as an “air gap.”

State by state, codes can vary significantly with most accepting ASSE 1055B backflow preventers. There are some instances of states that do not accept this code and instead use ASME, which states air gap backflow preventers as an acceptable backflow method.

Additional resources:

  • Distributors can visit www.IAPMO.org to look up a particular state’s plumbing codes;
  • The Dispensing Equipment Alliance (www.dispensingequipment.org), has also been formed by suppliers of the jan/san industry to help educate users about the local codes and how to properly install chemical proportioners.


Nick Bragg is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee. He is the former Deputy Editor of Sanitary Maintenance.