In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act is a backflow preventer, such as this pressure vacuum breaker (that contains lead), required to be lead-free? I am confused by section 300g-6 which prohibits the use of non lead-free fixtures in "any public water system". Does this mean it must be completely isolated from the public water system, or just that no downstream system can be used for human consumption?

Relevant text from the Safe Drinking Water Act:

§ 300g–6. Prohibition on use of lead pipes, solder, and flux

a) In general

(1) Prohibitions

(A) In general

No person may use any pipe, any pipe or plumbing fitting or fixture, any solder, or any flux, after June 19, 1986, in the installation or repair of—

(i) any public water system; or

(ii) any plumbing in a residential or nonresidential facility providing water for human consumption

that is not lead free (within the meaning of subsection (d) of this section).


The interpretation of statutes and laws (which are often deliberately inexact and/or vague) happens in court when an entity protests a citation or complaint, or when the regulatory authority decides or is compelled to deliver an interpretation. Until one of these happens, it is up to you to interpret as well as you can. You should think of it this way: "how would a majority of average right-minded persons interpret this?"

My interpretation (whatever it is worth) is that the device is located on a line that is not "providing water for human consumption"; additionally, the device is specifically designed to prevent water from flowing back towards systems that are "providing water for human consumption". Also, this product is specifically designed for use in irrigation systems...

  • Yehbut: 1. Is it designed for irrigation systems to be fed from potable water sources. 2. Is the lead-containing part on the public water system side of the valve. May 16 '19 at 13:17
  • However, chasing down the spec sheet, the answer to the first question is "Yes". May 16 '19 at 13:20

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