CHICAGO, IL — To help consumers identify environmentally friendly drinking water filters, the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) announced today that WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803: Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Systems has been officially recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an American National Standard.

WQA collaborated with ASPE to take the original version of this standard (which has been in use as a private standard within the drinking water treatment industry for more than a year) through the formal public review process necessary for a voluntary public standard to be accredited by ANSI. S-803 is now the first sustainability standard for drinking water treatment products to receive such an accreditation.

Products that are certified as meeting the requirements of WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803 are eligible to bear the WQA Sustainability Mark in recognition of passing the rigorous assessment of sustainable production practices that must be adopted by the manufacturer of these devices. The standard also evaluates the products in all other phases of the product’s life-cycle, from responsible raw material sourcing, through product packaging and consumer use, and finally to end-of-life disposition. It even addresses the basic elements of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The S-803 standard operates on a points-based system, giving manufacturers the freedom to choose from a menu of sustainability oriented criteria. This allows them to implement those environmental initiatives that have the greatest impact relative to their products and business model, but in the most cost-efficient way possible.

To achieve ANSI accreditation, the original WQA standard underwent two rounds of meticulous public review including manufacturers, professional/trade associations, certifiers, consultants, government regulators, and NGOs, in addition to feedback generated from the companies already certified to the original standard.

“We’re really excited to have our standard accredited by ANSI,” says Tom Palkon, WQA Interim Executive Director. “The process was rigorous, but we can now confidently say that S-803 is fully ‘road-tested’ and ready to meet the needs of a growing market for sustainable water treatment products.”

"ASPE was honored to be chosen by the WQA to take their standards through the ASPE development process and to ultimately achieve approval as American National Standards,” says Jim Kendzel, MPH, CAE, ASPE Executive Director/CEO.  “We are committed to continuing to serve the water treatment industry through the development and maintenance of sustainability standards.”

The scope of S-803 includes drinking water filter products that utilize activated carbon, as well as similar types of filters made from polypropylene, polyethylene, or string fibers. Meanwhile, the companion standard to S-803, WQA/ASPE S-802: Sustainable Activated Carbon for Drinking Water Treatment, is also now in the final stages of the accreditation process and should become an American National Standard by the end of the year. The S-802 standard is a business-to-business standard that focuses on the sustainability of the raw activated carbon used in most of the filter systems that can be certified to S-803.

Finally, efforts are already on the horizon to expand the scope of S-803 to incorporate additional product categories. Add-on modules for UV treatment systems as well as dispensers/coolers are in the final phase of drafting and nearly ready for public review, with reverse osmosis (RO) and softeners/ion exchange media on the list for development in 2015.

WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803 can be purchased as a download from ASPE’s website at www.aspe.org.
 
Those interested in applying for certification should contact Stuart Mann, CWS-VI, Sustainability Certification Supervisor for WQA, at SMann@WQA.org or 630/929-2546.