Environmental Protection

Showerhead Makers Fail to Certify Product; DOE Seeks $3 M

The Office of General Counsel has issued notices of proposed civil penalty to Zoe Industries, Altmans Products LLC, EZ-FLO International, and Watermark Designs, Ltd. for failing to certify to the Department of Energy that showerheads manufactured or distributed by these companies meet the applicable water conservation standard as required by the Energy Policy Conservation Act and DOE’s regulations.

These notices collectively propose payments to the government of more than $3 million. Unless the manufacturers settle these claims within 30 days, the Department will file actions either in District Court or with an Administrative Law Judge to demand payment for the failure to certify their products.

Under federal law, manufacturers of some products covered by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act are required to certify with the department that their models meet the applicable water conservation standards. These certification reports provide DOE with information critical to determining that American consumers are buying products that deliver significant water and cost savings in accord with DOE’s regulations.

On Dec. 9, 2009, DOE announced that manufacturers would be granted a 30-day window, until Jan. 8, 2010, to submit correct certification data to DOE, after which time DOE would begin to aggressively enforce violations of its certification requirements, including seeking civil penalties or fines. These are the first actions taken following expiration of the 30-day grace period.

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