One of the most frequent questions asked by consumers, builders, and plumbing contractors over the past 18 months has been “when will the dishwasher air gap mandate go away?” We finally have an answer: Dec. 17, 2021.
On Monday, March 22, the notice of adoption was published in the State Register, starting the required 270-day waiting period for the new code. Under Minnesota law, the 270-day waiting period for the adoption of a new building code to allow for training of the new code and for publishing new codebooks.
The 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code with Minnesota-specific amendments will become Minnesota’s plumbing code effective Dec. 17, 2021.
As noted, the dishwasher air gap for residential construction will no longer be mandated, but one of two options. The traditional looped method will be reinstated as an alternative to the air gap. Housing First Minnesota submitted a provision to drop the air gap in Dec. 2018:
414.3 Drainage Connection. Domestic dishwashing machines shall discharge indirectly through an air gap fitting in accordance with section 807.3 into a waste receptor, a wye branch fitting on the tailpiece of a kitchen sink, or dishwasher connection of a food waste disposer; or run the discharge line as high as possible under the countertop, securely fastened. Commercial dishwashing machines shall discharge indirectly through an air break or direct connection. The indirect discharge for commercial dishwashing machines shall be in accordance with section 807.1, and the direct discharge shall be in accordance with section 704.3.Source: Minnesota Plumbing Code, Jan. 2021 Version.
The process to adopt a new plumbing code has been a lengthy one, causing Housing First Minnesota to submit a letter to the Plumbing Board last year seeking reforms and alignment with the primary six-year code cycle. The letter also stated the removal of the air gap underscores the importance of thorough rulemaking as repealing a provision highlights how unnecessary the mandate was in the first place.
Nicholas Erickson, director of research and regulatory affairs, serves as Housing First Minnesota's point of contact for the housing industry's regulatory agencies and local government entities. He also leads the Housing Affordability Institute's research programs. Follow Nicholas on Twitter: @nserickson