January Newsletter Print

President's Report


This may seem like a petty topic, in light of all the other problems we have going on politically. President Trump has complained that low flow plumbing fixtures are not working as intended. In an Associated Press report a couple of weeks ago, President Trump said, “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once. They end up using more water.” He also said this about sinks and showers, “You go into a new building, a new house or a new home and they have standards and you don’t get water,” and he went on with, “You can’t wash your hands practically there’s so little water that comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you so much longer to wash your hands, and you end up using the same amount of water.” President Trump wants to see “common sense” steps to end overregulation. He said, “The EPA is looking at that very strongly at my suggestion.”

Although the topic may be petty, it is something that the plumbing engineering community does know something about! The use of low flow plumbing fixtures started after President George H.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 1992. The law states that toilets should not use more than 1.6 gallons per flush, urinals no more than 1 gallon per flush, sinks and showers were limited to 2.5 GPM. The law went into effect in 1994 for residential buildings and in 1997 for commercial buildings. The US Green Building Council which organized the LEED ratings for buildings, uses the flow rates of the Energy Policy Act as a baseline. Buildings that use even less water than the baseline may qualify for certain LEED points. Other programs have jumped on the bandwagon for water conservation such as Green Globe and Net Zero. Even the energy code has an influence on flow rates in order to reduce the energy for hot water. What President Trump is probably concerned about, is not the original Energy Policy Act of 1992 but all the other programs and codes that have come into effect since then.

There are a lot of staunch defenders of water conserving plumbing fixtures. The EPA introduced the WaterSense program, which is a voluntary labeling program designed to help consumers identify and select high performing plumbing products. “More than 30,000 models of products have been tested and certified to WaterSense specifications, resulting in more than 13 trillion gallons of water savings.” [“President Trump’s Comments On Water Efficiency Standards And Plumbing Products”, IAPMO, http://www.iapmonline.org/Documents/archive/20191216_WaterSense_Revisions.aspx, Accessed January 10, 2020]

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) also the organization responsible for the Uniform Plumbing Code, strongly supports the WaterSense program. The article cited above also states, “There are numerous studies, surveys and independent product testing programs have shown that plumbing products today are performing extremely well and are meeting consumer expectations. Further, data from water utilities across the nation have proved that the nation’s transition toward high efficiency plumbing products…has indeed resulted in profound water savings. American consumers across the nation have saved billions in lower water and energy bills.”

I have heard personally from a senior facilities administrator for Providence Hospitals in the Northwest, that it should be considered Mechanical Engineering malpractice to specify toilets with a 1.6 gallons per flush rate. The difference in cost of going from 1.6 to 1.28 gallons per flush toilets will only be a few dollars more. The savings in water costs will be enormous compared to increase in cost of the fixture. For a hospital administrator to say “malpractice” says a lot for how strongly he feels about the use of low flow plumbing fixtures. From my personal experience I find no issues with low flow toilets, urinals, and sinks. They all work just fine. I have never had to flush a toilet 10 or 15 times! Have you?

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Membership report

Happy New Year all!  I hope everyone was able to have a great holiday season with family and friends.

Thanks to Mike Bell, with Victaulic, for his presentation on Flexible Sprinkler Fittings at our December meeting.  Mike’s presentation was well received with a lot of interaction by the group.  We appreciate Mike and Victaulic for their support of the Seattle ASPE chapter.

Being a member in ASPE enables you to call upon a friend for help.  Your chapter officers know who does what.  Call your chapter leaders when you are stumped on the job and ask for help.  More times than not you will find a fellow member who is more than willing and able to assist you with your problem.  If they can't help kick it up to the Region Director and they will find you the help you seek.  ASPE members treat other members just like family, it's our single most valuable membership benefit.  Our members help non-members but we give them a hard time about being non-members.  If you find a non-member calling on you over and over again you should alert your chapter leaders and they can pursue the non-member to get them to join.  You can also use ASPE Connect, on the ASPE website, to ask your design questions to the member community from all over the country.

Please join me in welcoming Pedro Alicea-Gonzalez and Masood Akhbari as new members of the Seattle ASPE chapter.  Masood comes to us from the Los Angeles chapter.  Make sure you go out of your way to introduce yourself to each of them when you see them at one of our meetings or events.

The following chapter members have anniversaries with ASPE in January:

Mike Bell

2 years

Carmen Cejudo

8 years

Daniel Frahm

3 years

Jon Franzese

12 years

James Gianelli

1 year

Tom Hagensen

6 years

Jason Hewitt

12 years

David Jacques

16 years

Bob Lawrence

6 years

Mike LeMaster

2 years

Scott Miller

12 years

Mike Minniti

4 years

David Nicolai

2 years

David Norris

2 years

David Reames

10 years

Mark Schneider

1 year

John Snell

1 year


Congratulations to you all.

If you’re not already a member of the Seattle chapter, please consider joining.  If you are already a member, and know someone that might benefit from joining ASPE, please encourage them to become a club member.  This is a great venue to network with other engineers and vendors.

Gary Fox – VP Membership

Seattle ASPE

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Sponsor Ad 1

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Legislative Report

VP, Legislative Report, 01- 2020


 Public Health Seattle/King County- (Seattle) Plumbing Permit:

Seattle Plumbing plan review projects are currently taking up to (8) weeks. No intake appointment required. Plans are dropped off to Public Health Seattle/King County office.


City of Bellevue Plumbing Permit:

No intake appointment required. Documents are submitted online.

Bellevue’s ESTIMATED target review time: (2-3) weeks.


City of Tacoma Plumbing Permit:

No intake appointment required. Documents are submitted online.

Tacoma’s ESTIMATED target review time: (3-4) weeks


City of Redmond:

Plumbing review time can take up to (2) weeks, unless more information is needed.


Washington State Department of Health (DOH):

For all healthcare facilities, a construction review process is required by DOH. The expected review time…… (25) business days.

Michael Curtright, LEED AP, CPD, Vice President of Legislative

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Technical Report

Happy New Year to our Seattle Chapter members!! I hope everyone was able to spend time with friends or family during the holidays and take a little bit of time off to recharge and set some goals for 2020. Continuing professional development should be important to everyone as our industry is constantly changing and we must learn and adapt to survive. I encourage everyone to attend an ASPE webinar this year to learn a new skill.

As a reminder, Chapter CEUs are now issued directly from ASPE. I will be relying on ASPE’s new system for Education to generate CEUs. The nice part of this is that the CEUs will be stored by ASPE and connected to your member profile. When it comes time to renew your CPD or CPDT, the CEUs will already be loaded to your account.

In May, ASPE will be co-sponsoring the 2020 Emerging Water Technology Symposium, May 12-13, in San Antonio. The Emerging Water Technology Symposium provides a unique opportunity to meeting well-known experts from across the globe. Participants are able to discover ideas and approaches about emerging technologies coming to market; learn about innovative green plumbing and mechanical concepts; view presentations; and engage in timely discussions on how the water utility, manufacturing, engineering and trade industries have found solutions through emerging technologies for the water efficiency, plumbing and mechanical industries.


Mark your calendars now for the 2020 ASPE Convention & Expo. It will be held September 11-16, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. Planning is already underway for technical sessions and fun activities in the Big Easy! More details will be available on the ASPE website in the Spring.


Upcoming Technical Meetings


Topic & Speaker

January 2020

Engineered Solutions to Design out Legionella

Craig Boyce (Kemper Water Control)

February 2020

Composting Toilet Systems

Geoff Hill (Toilet Tech)

March 2020

ASPE Seattle Product Show

April 2020

Speaker & Topic To Be Determined

***Possible Field Trip***

May 2020

Speaker & Topic To Be Determined

June 2020

Speaker & Topic To Be Determined

There are a few meeting openings in the spring to fill up, so if you have topics or speakers you would like to suggest, you can email me! 


One of ASPE’s Committees is the Professional Engineer Working Group and they are working to “…develop a program for the placement of a plumbing OPTION within the framework of the Mechanical Engineering Principles and Practice (MEPP) examination as developed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and administered by the various state boards of registration/licensure.”

To support this effort for WA State, the ASPE Seattle Board is requesting all chapter members that are professional engineers to get involved and write a letter of support using ASPE’s templates and guidelines. You can find more information here:  https://www.aspe.org/membership-global-community/committees/professional-engineer-working-group/

I would like to recognize two PEs from our chapter, Cliff Chamberlain and John Mullins, for adding their support to this effort and contacting the WA State Board of Engineers.


Jonathan Franzese P.E. PEng CPD

VP Technical

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