Volume 43 Number 11
At the Center of It All: Testing New Water Technologies
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Where does one turn to get objective, credible information on the performance of new and innovative drinking water technologies? One answer came when NSF International partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to verify the performance of drinking water technologies. Established by the USEPA, the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) program is designed to accelerate the introduction and use of environmentally beneficial technologies by collecting and disseminating quality assured data on the performance, operation and maintenance, and cost factors of environmental technologies. The ETV Drinking Water Systems (DWS) Center is one of three ETV water projects. The other two, Source Water Protection and Wet Weather Flows, are also NSF/USEPA partnerships.
Trust, but verify
Prior to this, water treatment device manufacturers, assemblers and distributors were required to pursue a state-by-state approach through state drinking water administrators for each product they sought approval for in whatever states their marketing plans included. Such a piecemeal approach offered no guarantees that what would be accepted in one state would be acceptable in another, often forcing duplication of testing and validation along with additional expenses. The goal of the ETV program was to streamline the process, reduce the cost burden and improve the chances that valuable technology could be employed to help reduce the number of small drinking water systems that were in violation of national drinking water standards.
Fulfilling a need
The DWS Center has nine contaminant-specific verification protocols and 23 technology-specific test plans that specify procedures for testing drinking water treatment technologies. The contaminant-specific protocols include testing procedures for technologies that inactivate or reduce microbiological contaminants, arsenic, nitrate, precursors to disinfection by-products (DBPs), inorganic and organic chemicals, and radionuclides. The comprehensive test plans were developed during the pilot phase with the assistance of leading drinking water experts from the USEPA, NSF, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), universities, private engineering consulting firms, and industry participants. All state drinking water agencies and other interested stakeholders were given the opportunity to review and comment on the protocols.
Inviting a third party
Four additional performance verification tests have been completed. Their verification reports are under preparation and will be completed this calendar year. These tests involve microfiltration, diatomaceous earth filters and ozone disinfection. In addition, two verification tests are in progress involving UV radiation for the inactivation of MS2 bacteriophage.
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