Posted on 27 March 2020
Plumbing system for safer drinking water
Water is the most precious element to human life; an essential nutrient for our health and well-being. Everybody has the right to clean water and this is what drives REHAU’s commitment to create innovative and sustainable plumbing systems to deliver safe, clean drinking water to the community. In New Zealand, recent cases of elevated lead in drinking water in Christchurch and Auckland has resulted in a growing concern taking away the trust of drinking water from the tap. It is widely known that many components that make up the water supply networks in our homes and business are made of DZR brass. Lead gives brass some valuable properties for the production process including machinability and malleability making it more cost effective to produce. Nevertheless, when consumed it is extremely harmful to human health.
The current Australia/New Zealand standard stipulates a maximum lead content of 4.5% in material is deemed acceptable however, this is rarely checked or enforced. While it is unlikely for these trace levels of lead to leach into the water source, in some extreme environments or water types this can occur. In 2018 and 2019, elevated lead levels in water has been recorded to be well above the 10 micrograms per litre benchmark established by the New Zealand standard. Those traces of lead has been found in Lyttelton and central city, Sydenham, Beckenham, Merivale, St Albans and Addington also possibly affected. In Germany and the USA more stringent lead content regulations have been in place for many years to reduce the risk of lead contamination, driving manufacturers to develop low lead or lead-free solutions. In the US, for example, lead concentration in DZR brass plumbing components is limited to 0.25%. While these stricter controls are not yet in place in New Zealand, it is only a matter of time for the growing concern of lead from consumers and authorities is pushing regulators to consider this.
The term Lead-free is defined in Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act as a material with a weighted average of 0.25% lead or less calculated across the wetted surfaces of a pipe, pipe fitting, plumbing fitting, and fixture. This is a US Standard and is used in the absence of an Aus/NZ Standard covering the topic.
Through REHAU’s commitment to help people consume the cleanest and purest water possible, REHAU ANZ has introduced the first lead-safe PE-X plumbing range to New Zealand. REHAU’s Lead-Free RAUTITAN consists of our renowned premium quality, high flexibility PE-Xa PN20 pipe (Zero Lead) combined with PVDF PX (Zero Lead) polymer fittings, Lead-Free Gunmetal (RX+) fittings and PX polymer sleeves (zero lead) to create the safest and healthiest plumbing system on the planet.
PE-Xa RAUTITAN Pipe
With 50 years of experience in PE-Xa pipe production REHAU has perfected the process of creating the highest quality pipe with the ideal properties for plumbing applications. PE-Xa pipe is naturally Zero Lead and has been specifically treated to ensure optimal flexibility, toughness and cleanliness to deliver pure, taste and odour-free water to the end user. Available in sizes from 16mm to 63mm for various applications including domestic hot and cold water, rainwater, recycled water and hydronic heating, REHAU’s PE-Xa piping system is the ultimate choice for hygiene and sustainability.
PX Polymer Fitting
Made from tough, hygienic and Zero Lead PPSU material PX fittings are 5 times lighter than brass so you can carry more and get the job done faster. They are also corrosion proof so they wont suffer oxide buildup restricting the flow system flow performance over time. Available in sizes 16-40mm PX fittings are so much safer for the community.
Gunmetal RX+ Fittings
RX+ fittings are made of a high quality low-lead bronze, also known as Red Brass or Gunmetal. They have a maximum lead content of 0.1%, exceeding the most stringent international standard for low-lead drinking water systems.
PX Polymer Sleeves
While compression sleeves are never in contact with water and therefore not covered by international low-lead regulation PVDF PX sleeves are Zero Lead. They are available in sizes 16 to 40mm for use with REHAU water, gas and heating piping systems. They are lightweight, faster to install and completely secure making them the ideal material for compression sleeve jointed applications.
Stagnant water in pipes (dead-legs) is known to facilitate the reproduction of bacteria and Legionella growth, which can cause health problems, commonly known as Legionnaires' disease. While guidelines exist in the Australian/ New Zealand Standard for plumbing and drainage to help minimise the risks, it can often be quite difficult to design a system that eliminates dead legs. REHAU's Gunmetal U-bend fittings are a unique concept purposely made to tackle this problem; minimizing dead-legs and allowing water to flow through plumbing fixtures even if they are not being used frequently. The U-bends reduce the risk of legionella growth facilitating the delivery of safer and cleaner water for the community.
With Lead-Free piping system now available in New Zealand the question arises, status quo or Lead-Free RAUTITAN? The choice is yours.