Product Certification Areas

Water Quality Association provides various types of certifications to encompass a wide variety of products that may be used in the drinking water pathway. Anything that comes into contact with your drinking water may be a candidate for certification. Certification is divided up into areas that cover various aspects of water treatment technology.  To find out more about a specific certification area that WQA provides services for, please use the links here.

Drinking Water Treatment Units - The standards in this area cover full systems that use filter, reverse osmosis, water softener, or ultra violet treatment technology.

Drinking Water System Components - These standards cover individual components or parts of water treatment systems.   

Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals - These standards cover the use of chemicals that are added to drinking water for health or aesthetic effects.

Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Products - The Sustainability Certification Program recognizes products for improvements in the sustainability of their production facilities and processes.

Lead Free Compliance - The Lead Free standard is a way for companies to show compliance to the EPA's rule of no component in contact with drinking water may contain more than 0.25% lead content.

Food Equipment - The food equipment standards cover the certification of pieces of equipment that come into contact with food or drink related items.

Bottled Water - The bottled water standards cover the certification of water bottle containers.

International Standards - Standards that are only applicable outside the US and Canada are labeled as International Standards.

Drinking Water Treatment Units

The following Standards cover Drinking Water Treatment Units (DWTUs) and are offered as part of the WQA Certification Program.

NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 - these standards are primarily for products that function in adsorption and filtration covering a wide range of contaminant reductions. Carbon filters are an example of these types of products. NSF/ANSI 42 covers aesthetic reduction claims while NSF/ANSI 53 covers health-related reduction claims

NSF/ANSI 44 - this standard covers water softeners. Typically, a water softener will use a cation exchange resin that is regenerated with sodium or potassium chloride. The softener reduces calcium and magnesium ions and replaces them with sodium or potassium ions.

NSF/ANSI 55 - this standard covers Ultraviolet (UV) systems. UV systems are most commonly used for disinfection (Class A systems) or reducing non-pathogenic nuisance microorganisms (Class B systems).

NSF/ANSI 58 - this standard covers reverse-osmosis (RO) systems that use reverse pressure to reduce a wide variety of contaminants through a semi-permeable membrane. These types of systems will often also include carbon pre and/or post-filters.

NSF/ANSI 62 - this standard covers distillation products which use heat to boil water and reduce a variety of contaminants.

NSF/ANSI 177 - this standard covers shower filters, which may be used to reduce chlorine in the water used for showers.

ORD 1501 -  this protocol evaluates and characterizes performance of residential water softeners.  For a copy of ORD1501, please contact

Please note to check your water for the contaminants that are of concern to your family and verify that the product you are purchasing has been tested and certified to an NSF/ANSI standard for the reduction of the contaminants of concern.

Drinking Water System Components

The following Standard covers Drinking Water System Components and is offered as part of the WQA Certification Program

NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 - this standard covers pipes and pipe-related products, barrier materials (such as a liner), joining and sealing materials (such as adhesives or coatings), process media (such as ion exchange resin, carbon etc.), and point-of-entry systems

This standard only requires testing for materials safety, which looks for a wide variety of contaminants that may leach into the product water.

Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals

The following Standard covers Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals and is offered as part of the WQA Certification Program NSF/ANSI/CAN 60 - this standard covers various chemicals that may be added to water for different types of treatments including coagulation and filtration chemicals to remove solids (such as silica), scale control (such as limestone),  disinfection/oxidation (such as bleach or ammonia). 

These are just a few examples of what could be found in NSF/ANSI/CAN 60. For these types of products, a chemical analysis is conducted by adding the chemical according to its prescribed to water and analyzing for a variety of contaminants.

Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Products

The WQA Sustainability Certification Program is the first of its kind in the drinking water treatment industry. The Sustainability Certification Mark verifies to retailers and consumers alike that a product has been manufactured according to industry standards for recognized best practices in the area of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The mark is a symbol that represents achievement in the field of sustainability. It supports profitability by helping to identify products as safe for both people and the planet. Once certified, the Sustainability Certification Mark may be displayed on websites, marketing materials, packaging, and the product itself, insuring that products maintain a competitive edge in the market place.

WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802: Sustainable Activated Carbon Media for Drinking Water Treatment - This standard covers raw activated carbon media products.  Manufacturers interested in certifying DWTU systems to S-803 (see below) are awarded vital credits for sourcing activated carbon certified to S-802, so consider this certification to maintain market preferability with DWTU manufacturers.


WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803: Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Systems - This product standard is currently scoped to Drinking Water Treatment Systems (and components) that utilize activated carbon, string-wound and/or PP/PE filters, UV Treatment, and Dispensers (including Coolers and Heaters).  WQA is currently in the process of expanding this standard to cover Softeners/Ion Exchange and Reverse Osmosis Systems (RO).  Eventually the standard will cover all common treatment system technologies.  Hybrid systems need only certify to this single standard.


WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-801: Sustainable Management (Prerequisite Standard) - Conformance to this standard is scoped at the facility level.  No certification is awarded, however this conformance is a necessary prerequisite for product certification to S-802 or S-803 (see above).  This standard is modeled after ISO 14001 (see below) but also contains some elements of basic corporate social responsibility.  Facilities already certified or obtaining certification to ISO 14001 are automatically awarded 50 out of the 60 credits necessary for conformance to WQA S-801.

ISO 14001: Environmental Management - WQA now offers this certification scoped at the facility rather than the product level.  Attaining this certification automatically awards 50 out of the 60 credits necessary for conformance to WQA S-801 (see above).

Lead Free Compliance

Lead Free Compliance is covered by NSF/ANSI/CAN 372. Testing is conducted on various materials that could be used in the drinking water pathway to determine the content of lead in a given material.


Brief History 

In 2010, California and Vermont began requiring that all plumbing fixtures contain less than 0.25 percent average lead content by weight. Now in 2014, this has become a national requirement across the United States.




Why It's Important

Many older homes may still have plumbing installed that could lead to higher levels of lead in drinking water. Be sure to get your lead level tested and if it exceeds the current federal limit, you may want to consider purchasing a drinking water treatment unit that can reduce lead in water if you cannot have your water lines replaced with new plumbing. Look for a product with NSF/ANSI testing and certification according to NSF/ANSI 53, NSF/ANSI 58, or NSF/ANSI 62 that states it has been tested and certified for lead reduction.
Food Equipment

NSF/ANSI 18 -  This standard establishes minimum food protection and sanitation requirements for the materials, design, construction, and performance of manual food and beverage dispensing equipment and their related components. This standard excludes vending machines, dispensing freezers, or bulk milk dispensing equipment.

NSF/ANSI 51 -  This standard establishes minimum health and sanitation requirements for materials used in the making of commercial food equipment. Materials must not contaminate food nor make food equipment difficult to clean and sanitize. This standard is also applicable to components such as tubing, gaskets, valves, etc. for food equipment applications.

NSF/ANSI 169 - This standard contains requirements to establish minimum food protection and sanitation requirements for the materials, design, fabrication, construction, and performance of special purpose food handling and processing equipment and devices not fully covered by other individual standards. 

Bottled Water

WQA will evaluate a facility and the Bottled Water product. If the facility and water passes the audit and testing the WQA Gold Seal Certification Mark can be used by the bottled water company. 

International Standards

Indian Standard - This standard specifies the minimum requirements and methods of sampling and testing for drinking water (other than natural mineral water) offered for sale in packaged form for products in India.  

Korean Standard - This standard specifies the minimum requirements and methods of sampling and testing for drinking water (other than natural mineral water) offered for sale in packaged form for products in Korea. 




To see a list of the most current versions of the standards WQA is certifying to, refer to this list of standards.