Regulatory Affairs Update: Dishwasher air gap may become optional

Minnesota’s Board of Plumbing’s Ad Hoc Rulemaking Committee is nearing the end of its work on reviewing proposed changes to Minnesota’s Plumbing Code.

Of all the potential changes, the most impactful is the move to make the dishwasher air gap optional.

Under recommended language, the air gap on residential dishwashers becomes optional, the alternative option being running the discharge line as high as possible under the cabinet.

Multiple requests for the removal of the air gap were submitted, including those from Housing First Minnesota, the Northwest Chapter of Building Officials, Kitchens By Design, and M&D Plumbing and Heating.

The new plumbing board will review all recommended changes before deciding on adopting a new plumbing code, which will then go through the formal rulemaking process.

The timeline for the adoption of a new plumbing code is not yet known.

Lead Paint

The Minnesota Department of Health released its first look at Minnesota’s Renovation, Repair and Paint (RRP) Rule on May 20, giving remodelers the first look into the draft Minnesota rule in 18 months.

Like the RRP Rule currently administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, this rule, once adopted, will govern the remodeling of pre-1978 homes and will be administered locally by the Department of Health.

Since the last draft was published in December 2017, the EPA and the Department of Health have been working on an updated draft of the state’s rule. The current working draft, according to those close to the rulemaking effort, is expected to be much closer to the current EPA requirements than past versions distributed by the Department of Health.

Two years ago, Housing First Minnesota organized a variety of housing groups to raise concerns over the sharp increase in remodeling costs under the initial proposal placed forward by the Department of Health.

While many provisions are expected to follow the existing regulation, an on-site hygiene station, requiring a sign-in log for the worksite and renovators training certification length are different in the current draft.

The Minnesota Department of Health accepted comments through June 14.

The final rule is expected to go into effect by January 2020.

Construction Demolition Waste

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is still working to develop a construction and demolition waste recycling and reuse program. New regulations surrounding construction and demolition landfills could also be on the agency’s agenda. Stakeholder meetings are expected to begin this summer.

MS4 Permit

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released the draft Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit in May. Just as the Construction Stormwater Permit covers stormwater discharge on construction sites, the MS4 Permit outlines how municipalities can discharge stormwater into public waters.

The new draft MS4 Permit has undergone the same rewrite as the 2018 Construction Stormwater Permit, the MPCA staff is working diligently to reduce the size of the permit and it has been edited for clarity.

The formal comment period for the MS4 Permit will occur later this summer.