A Wider Scope: International Regulations

October 1, 2010

Tracking the development of international drinking water regulations

With the recent BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster and the passing of the five-year anniversary for Hurricane Katrina, we are reminded how delicate our ecosystems and water supplies are. But these events occurred in a generalized local area. What about water regulations on an international level?

NSF Intl., as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center, continues to foster the growth and education of the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit (DWTU) Standards, what they mean and how they may be able to benefit another country.

Review of the varying international water standards indicates that there are a large number of them. Some of these standards are very different from the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards, and there are some that use a significant portion, if not all, of the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards. Following are a number of countries that reference the use of the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards.

Australia & New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand reference the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards for claims performance and material extraction testing. The testing for structural integrity is similar to the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standard; however, there is a slight temperature variance between the two standards. In addition, the Australian and New Zealand standard requires that a backflow prevention device be included with the system, and that this device be evaluated for compliance against Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2845.1.

Brazil

In Brazil, regulations reference NSF/ANSI Standard 42. Brazil has two standards:  ABNT NBR 14908 and ABNT NBR 15176. ABNT NBR 14908 applies to pressurized devices and ABNT NBR 15176 applies to pour-through devices. The Brazilian standards address material extraction with a finite list of extractables, performance claims that are limited to chlorine reduction or particulate reduction. The structural integrity requirements mirror the requirements in NSF/ANSI Standard 42. In addition, the Brazilian standards require a microbial evaluation using P. aeruginosa and a bacterial evaluation using E. coli.

Canada

The Canadian requirements also reference the acceptance of the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards. In addition, if applicable, the requirements of CSA B483.1 must also be met for sale of DWTU devices in the Canadian province of Quebec. The acceptance of CSA B483.1 in other provinces may follow in the near future. Among other requirements, CSA B483.1 addresses compliance for dimensions with inlet/outlet fitting, life-cycle testing for valves and float valve performance within a storage tank.

The Philippines

The Philippines are in the process of adopting the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards. When accepted, the Philippine standards will make a few modifications that will address the deletion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods and reference Philippine methods and the minimum service flow requirement for point-of-entry systems will be lowered from 15 liters per minute to 12.5 liters per minute.

Israel & Saudi Arabia

In Israel, the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards 42, 53 and 55 are addressed verbatim. In Saudi Arabia, their water standard references NSF/ANSI Standard 58, but also covers nanofiltration, as well as reverse osmosis. Similar to Brazil, the material extraction requirements look for a finite list of extractables. In addition to structural integrity and performance testing, there are biological and microbiological requirements, too.

South Africa

In South Africa, reference is made to the NSF/ANSI Standards 42, 53 and 55 for design and construction. The South African DWTU requirements do not include deionization, distillation and reverse osmosis.

Taiwan

Taiwan has adopted NSF/ANSI Standard 42. Similar to some of the other countries that have adopted the NSF/ANSI Standards, Taiwan has removed the reference to Title 21 CFR references, as well as pass/fail levels, so that they do not reference U.S. EPA levels.

David L. Bentley is technical manager of the DWTU Program for NSF Intl. Bentley can be reached at bentley@nsf.org or 734.769.8926.

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