It is World Plumbing Day, March 11th, every year, everywhere…
I am sharing some valuable information from the World Plumbing Day website.
The key elements from this epidemic that are addressed by the plumbing industry worldwide:
DESIGN: It all begins with the design of the product itself. A trained engineer will know
which materials are viable options for the production of a P-trap and call for these
specifications in his design.
PRODUCTION: Next is the manufacturer. If there is an ISO 9001 Quality Management
System in place, audited regularly by an accredited third party body, the manufacturer is
likely to recognize a deficient material being used in a product and make the correction
before the faulty product can go to market — in this case, the bolts that rusted,
compromising the water seal in the floor drain trap.
STANDARDS TESTING: Similarly, this defect could have been caught during testing at
a properly accredited product-testing laboratory. Standards dictate the allowable
materials, design, function, etc. for a given product. If the product standard calls for
galvanized bolts, for instance, any product not using the specified bolts would not pass
testing to show compliance with the applicable standard(s).
PRODUCT CERTIFICATION: Without meeting the required standards, the product
cannot be certified and listed by a third-party certification body suitably accredited to
grant Marks of Conformity to products. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (a city’s building
inspector, for instance) look for these Marks of Conformity when determining which
plumbing products they will allow for installation within their municipality.
CODES: The adoption of building codes within a municipality goes a long way toward
ensuring the safety of a city’s residents from system failures such as the one at the Amoy
INSTALLATION: A workforce highly trained and educated to the existing code language
is essential to the proper installation of a plumbing system. If the plumber who installed
the P-trap at the Amoy Gardens was properly certified to perform this work, it is quite
possible he would have recognized the potential for failure in this particular product.
INSPECTION: In the same vein, a similarly certified plumbing and mechanical inspector
might have red tagged this installation during his code-dictated on-site inspection of the
installer’s work. This red tag could have required the installer to remove the faulty P-trap
and replace it with the proper part before the plumbing system could be approved as
MAINTENANCE: Over the life of a plumbing system, periodic maintenance is required.
The chances of the system continuing to function in the safest manner possible grow
exponentially when the person performing that maintenance is trained professional
plumber. During routine maintenance of the building’s plumbing system, the failed P-trap
might have been discovered and repaired before the SARS Coronavirus was introduced to
When all of these steps work in concert with each other, it drastically reduces the
likelihood of the type of failure that facilitated the spread of the SARS virus in Hong
Kong. In developing nations, many of these steps are often bypassed, with increased
health risks illustrated by statistics; for example, as many as 7.5 percent of deaths in India
are attributed to water and sanitation related causes, according to statistics from the
World Health Organization — a staggering figure in a nation of 1.1 billion people.
World Plumbing Day seeks to provide additional awareness of these goals and how tools
such as “Health Aspects of Plumbing” contribute toward reaching these humanitarian
Safe, clear drinking water and basic sanitation is possible in any nation, big or small, when simple, sound plumbing practices are adopted.
Contact www.worldplumbing.org to download your copy of Health Aspects of Plumbing today.