NSF International has announced new requirements in NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components -- Health Effects for regenerated and reactivated media used to treat public drinking water supplies. Most U.S. states currently require media and other products used to treat public drinking water to be certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 in order to verify that they will not contribute harmful levels of contaminants into drinking water.

The new requirements establish criteria for the inspection of regeneration facilities and periodic testing of regenerated media by certification organizations. NSF/ANSI Standard 61 also requires that the regeneration and reactivation facilities have a robust quality system, which includes ongoing evaluation of contaminants in the raw source water being treated and an evaluation of the regeneration process to verify removal of these contaminants.

NSF/ANSI Standard 61 originally addressed only virgin media and did not contain criteria for facilities to use regenerated or reactivated media capable of achieving the same treatment objectives at a reduced operating cost. Spent process media generated by drinking water treatment plants can be readily treated and processed at licensed regeneration facilities and returned for several regeneration cycles to the water treatment facility.  While NSF/ANSI Standard 61 sets strict traceability requirements to help ensure utilities receive back the same media they sent to be treated, the standard also allows for commingling of media from several utilities as long as the purchasers agree.

“The commingling or pooling of media from multiple drinking water utilities is an important aspect since it allows for the certification of regeneration companies that provide services to very small public water systems,” said Cynthia Klevens, P.E., sanitary engineer from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. “New Hampshire requires all products that come into contact with drinking water to be certified under the appropriate NSF/ANSI standards. Without this certification and the associated safeguards it incorporates, we were unable to approve the use of regenerated media for these small systems, who are most in need of maintaining reasonable operating costs for their long-term sustainability.”

Background on NSF/ANSI Standard 61
The requirements were recently incorporated into NSF/ANSI Standard 61, a standard that includes procedures to evaluate products that are used to treat and distribute public drinking water supplies and to screen out those products that could contribute excessive levels of contaminants into drinking water.

Products covered in the standard include: pipes and related products; protective and barrier materials (including cements/coatings); joining and sealing materials (including gaskets, adhesives, lubricants); process media (including carbon, sand, zeolite, ion exchange media); mechanical devices (including water meters, in-line valves, filters, process equipment); mechanical plumbing devices (faucets, drinking fountains, and components); and potable water materials (non-metallic materials).

For more information on NSF/ANSI Standard 61 requirements, visit www.nsf.org.