Water quality throughout the United States became an important and frequently discussed issue, following the beginning of the Flint Water Crisis in 2014.
United Association (UA) International Representative Kurt Steenhoek discussed how the UA developed their water quality program in 2016 on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Steenhoek explained how he works in the plumbing department within the UA. In addition to being an international representative, he is also the project manager of the UA water quality program. The program seeks to develop better water habits and water quality codes.
UA water quality program
Steenhoek said there are between 40 and 80 million people in the U.S. using water whose quality would be flagged with violations under the U.S. Water Standard.
Following the Flint Water Crisis, the UA launched an initiative to build a water quality program focused on bacteria levels, metal levels and chemical balances. Once established, it was implemented throughout the country.
Following its implementation, other programs were developed to mandate facilities have water supplies safe from legionella, the cause of legionnaire disease.
He said the UA program also has training standards. One part of the certification relates to employers, while the other is for plumbers, pipe fitters, HVAC technicians and sprinkler fitters.
Moving forward, Steenhoek said the buildings that have been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have to go through water quality testing in order to reopen.