Guidance in terms of minimum requirements and lead-free options for valves and fittings are provided by the AWWA C800 Underground Service Line Valves and Fittings standard. The standard historically was built around the use of one leaded red brass alloy. Over the last two decades, as the water industry transitioned to lead-free alloys for surfaces that contact potable water, many options became available for most waterworks products. However, only three lead-free brass options were introduced for C800 products, all of which are alloys that contain bismuth — a material that presents concerns. A revision of the AWWA C800 standard led to the inclusion of three silicon-based brass options.
The changes to the AWWA C800 standard, coupled with the risks of bismuth, prompted Mueller Co. LLC to pursue its own course of action. This took the form of a life cycle assessment (LCA) covering the range of available bismuth- and silicon-based brass alloy options.