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Sedgwick County Adopts Second, 'Less Regulatory' Plumbing Code

Lonny Wright, a retired plumber, speaks against a resolution to adopt two distinct plumbing codes in certain parts of Sedgwick County.

Sedgwick County now has two plumbing codes. The County Commissioners voted in the new regulations on a 4-1 vote.

The Uniform Plumbing Code, or UPC, has been in use in Sedgwick County for more than 40 years. 

Sedgwick County Commissioners voted this week to give plumbers in certain smaller cities another option: the International Plumbing Code, or IPC.

Supporters say that by offering both codes in a limited area, they can check the safety and viability of the IPC, which is already in other Kansas cities. Commissioners say the IPC is more cost-effective, and, in a release, said having a dual-code system "could provide an economic boost, as it allows for more competition."

Wes Galian with the Wichita Area Builders Association says members would like the opportunity to utilize the International Plumbing Code.

“I think the time has come to take an objective look at this thing, and the only way to get an objective look is to market-test it," he told commissioners at their meeting Wednesday.

But some argued it's less regulatory than the current code and could put residents’ health and safety at risk. 

“Plumbing is a health profession," said retired plumber Lonny Wright. "It’s unfortunate that the commission majority has selected plumbing as the next health and safety requirement that you can downgrade in the last few months of your majority.”

Two Wichita plumbers unions also sent out letters opposing having two plumbing codes.

This post has been updated to clarify supporters' position on adopting the resolution and IPC.


Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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