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.

“Considering that most state laws require compliance with NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for products used in public water supplies, drinking water utilities have additional options for their treatment media needs now that NSF/ANSI 61 addresses regenerated media,” says Dave Purkiss, general manager, NSF Water Treatment and Distribution Systems Program. “State regulatory officials worked with media manufacturers, water utility representatives and NSF to develop the new criteria to make this option possible.” 

The requirements recently were 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).

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.