TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 30, 2008 – Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson is reminding consumers whose homes contain a polybutylene pipe system that time is running out to file a claim in a nationwide class-action settlement.
Many single-family homes, multi-unit dwellings and mobile homes built in Florida during the 1980s and early 1990s were constructed using polybutylene (PB) plumbing. PB pipe is somewhat flexible, usually gray in color, and has plastic or metal fittings held in place by aluminum or copper bands at the joints. PB pipe might be located in an attic, crawl space, within walls or a water heater closet, but is often installed beneath insulation materials. It is not used for drains, waste or vent piping, yard sprinkler systems, irrigation systems, fire sprinkler systems, sewer lines, faucets or fixtures.
Under the terms of the class-action settlement with the manufacturer, Shell Oil, homeowners who have had a PB pipe leak may qualify for a free plumbing replacement if a leak is detected by Jan. 31, 2009, and they file their claims by May 1, 2009.
The class-action settlement fund is administered by the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center (CPRC), a non-profit, third-party administrator approved by the court. Established in 1995, the $1.1 billion fund has spent over $976 million in homeowner relief. There is no cost for homeowners.
PB plumbing was installed in an estimated 6 million homes nationwide between Jan. 1, 1978, and July 31, 1995, the dates for installations covered by the settlement. More than 330,000 homeowners have had their plumbing systems replaced under the free program so far, but tens of thousands more may be eligible for the free plumbing replacement.
“I urge Florida homeowners to investigate whether they qualify for this settlement,” Bronson says. “Keep in mind that the deadlines for detecting a leak and submitting a claim are drawing near.”
In Florida, 86,525 claims have been submitted and 43,552 plumbing replacements completed as of April 30, according to CPRC.
Twenty-six Florida counties are among the top 100 counties nationwide in the number of plumbing replacements. They include: Brevard 2,667; Broward 2,582; Citrus 611; Collier 631; Duval 1,254; Escambia 938; Hernando 615; Highlands 752; Hillsborough 2,482; Lake 1,719; Lee 2,456; Manatee 1,167; Marion 1,417; Miami-Dade 659; Okaloosa 548; Okeechobee 777; Orange 2,583; Osceola 654; Palm Beach 1,697; Pasco 2,607; Pinellas 1,657; Polk 2,939; St. Lucie 720; Sarasota 1,199; Seminole 915; and Volusia 1,212.
Homeowners with PB pipe can call CPRC at (800) 392-7591 or visit www.pbpipe.com
for information about filing a claim and to access claim forms.