Reduced water demands from these efficient products (as well as the conservation practices adopted by the users) definitely result in reduced wastewater flows. Thus far, though, there are few authoritative (non-anecdotal) reports of high-efficiency products causing building drainlines or municipal sewer systems in the U.S. to experience blockages. However, research in Australia and Europe indicates that, in the future, the combination of significantly reduced wastewater flows from a wide array of high-efficiency products and systems might result in waste transport problems in some types of U.S. building drainlines. As more efficient practices and equipment become mainstream tools for reducing water consumption, North America must be prepared for these potential issues, particularly in commercial and industrial applications.
The Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition (PERC) was formed through an initiative led by IAPMO in 2009, and is currently comprised of six leading organizations, each with a strong commitment to water efficiency and the integrity of building infrastructure. Those organizations are:
Initially, the PERC identified four potential target areas for possible research:
The PERC member organizations decided in 2010 that the highest priority area for research is waste transport in commercial-industrial building drainlines. The scope and PERC Phase 1 test plan of research has been funded and work is completed. A narrative description of the background to the PERC research program, as well as recent press releases and articles, will provide further information.
Now Available: Download PERC Study Phase 1
final report version 1.1 (4.4mb)
Also download the PERC Study Data File here (1.4mb)
Now Available: Download PERC Study Phase 2 Final Report (3.6 mb)
The Phase 2 report reveals important (and surprising) research findings related to the reduction of building drainlines from 4-inch diameter to 3-inch diameter, as well as findings related to 1.0 gallon (3.8 litre) toilet flush volumes in commercial installations.
Read this excellent summary of the PERC study report by Julius Ballanco, P.E., in PM Engineer magazine: "PERC study produces interesting results"
WATERSMART INNOVATIONS CONFERENCE - PERC presentations
(1) 2010 - Watersmart Innovations - October 2010 (1.2mb)
(2) 2011 - Watersmart Innovations - October 2011 (6.5mb)
(3) 2012 - Watersmart Innovations - October 2012 (2.2 mb)
(4) 2015 - Watersmart Innovations - October 2015 (3.0 mb)
Dr. Steve Cummings presentations on drainline carry issues -
(1) 2010 - Dr. Steve Cummings presentation on drainline junctions and impacts of toilet paper (5mb)
(2) 2013 - Dr. Steve Cummings update presentation on drainlines and toilet paper (5.4mb)
CIBW62 2009 on BUILDING DRAINS (Düsseldorf, Germany) presentations and reports on drainline carry issues -
(1) Prof. Dr. John Swaffield report on "Dry Drains: Myth, Reality, or Impediment to Water Conservation"(1.4mb)
(2) Prof. Dr. John Swaffield presentation on "Dry Drains: Myth, Reality, or Impediment to Water Conservation"(13.2mb)
DRY DRAINS FORUM 2009 (Frankfurt, Germany) presentations on drainline carry issues -
(1) Prof. Dr. John Swaffield presentation introducing the Forum (3.3mb)
(2) Don Boynton presentation on sustainable future (1.6mb)
(3) Prof. Dr. Mete Demeriz presentation on dry urinals (NOTE: 21.5mb)
(4) Ron George presentation on water efficiency and dry drains (1.1mb)
(5) Dr. Steve Cummings, Jeff Clark, and Les Barnard joint presentation "Performance Compatibility of Water Efficient Fixtures with Drainage Systems and Plumbing Codes" (NOTE: 62 pages, 22mb)
(6) Prof. Dr. John Swaffield presentation closing the Forum (1.2mb)
Press releases and articles relating to PERC-
December 2010: PERC joins with Australia's ASFlow in an historic agreement to collaborate on DRAINLINE RESEARCH
On December 3, 2010 the Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition (PERC) and the Australasian Scientific Review of Reduction of Flows on Plumbing and Drainage Systems (ASFlow) Committee signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at U.S. EPA headquarters in Washington D.C. Both organizations are working on research programs that seek to investigate the impact of reduced water flows in sanitary drainage systems resulting from reductions in water use from plumbing fixtures and fittings, appliances and commercial and institutional equipment. Download the MoU here (2mb).