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Commercial Water Treatment Equipment 

The working group for ASSE 1087, Performance Requirements for Commercial and Food Service Water Treatment Equipment Utilizing Drinking Water, has completed a comprehensive health and safety standard to cover commercial and food service water treatment equipment. For decades, the water treatment industry has struggled to compose an outline for an all-encompassing performance standard to cover commercial water treatment equipment. Regulators and inspectors around the U.S. and throughout Canada typically relied on first party performance data when approving the use of commercial water treatment equipment in buildings, hospitals, hotels, schools, and restaurants. The water treatment industry, with the help of ASSE International’s standards development team, have filled this performance standard gap with its newly published ASSE 1087 standard. This article discusses the key sections of the standard and the products included in its scope.


The standard’s scope includes plumbed-in water treatment devices and components – point of entry and point of use – that are used in buildings (e.g. businesses, schools, churches, hotels, restaurants, etc.) to improve the quality of the water. The standard covers all water treatment products that are connected to the building’s plumbing system for potable water. Examples of water treatment equipment include deionizers, filters, softeners, reverse osmosis equipment, ultraviolet systems, ozone systems, and distillers. The standard is not intended to cover products used for wastewater applications, process water, or residential water treatment.

Performance Requirements and Compliance Testing

Service flow and pressure drop testing is required on these systems. Service flow rate and pressure drop information is critical when sizing the plumbing system of new buildings or determining the properly sized equipment in existing buildings. This testing includes requirements for specified service flow rates and maximum flow rates (peak flow) with corresponding pressure drop data.

Backsiphonage during system regeneration testing is required on products such as cation exchange water softeners that use brine to regenerate the system. Areas of the U.S. are beginning to require regenerating water treatment equipment to be installed with an additional backflow device. This test has been designed to confirm that the system will not allow fluid in the brine tank to enter the potable water system. Systems meeting this design will not need an additional backflow device because this safety mechanism is designed into the water treatment system.

Bypass flow capacity during system regeneration testing is required on products such as cation exchange water softeners. This test was designed to ensure that the building will not be restricted of water if there is a demand when the system is regenerating.

ASSE 1087 includes four tests to verify the structural integrity of the system or component. A 24-hour pressure loss test is required on complete systems and pressure bearing components. This test has been designed to demonstrate that the system or component will not leak under pressure over a 24-hour period. The pressure shock (water hammer) test checks the system’s ability to withstand water hammer up to two times the maximum rated working pressure of the device. The hydrostatic test is performed to ensure that the system or component will be able to withstand peak pressures experienced in plumbing systems. Finally, cycle testing is performed to ensure that the system or component will be able to withstand repeated pressure cycling to simulate 20 years of life.

Material safety testing refers to existing standards, such as NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects, that have been used for decades to ensure that products are safe to contract drinking water. ASSE 1087 standard also requires systems and components to comply with the requirements of NSF/ANSI 372: Drinking Water System Components – Lead Content, to verify compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) lead-free requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Contaminant reduction testing to verify marketed claims is not currently specified in the standard because most commercial products are specifically designed and constructed for commercial building needs. Creating test protocols for uniquely designed products cannot be easily addressed in a performance standard; however, several industry manufacturers have initiated proposed revisions to the standard to include voluntary contaminant reduction testing to verify systems’ marketed claims because some commercial products are mass produced without unique designs. As these protocols are finalized and validated through laboratory testing, the standard will be opened for revision.

This standard will provide regulators, inspectors, and code developers an opportunity to improve health and safety requirements for products that contact drinking water. It seems like the media publish articles about poor drinking water quality around the globe daily. Creating standards to cover all commercial drinking water treatment devices is one step to improve the safety of drinking water. This new standard follows ASSE’s motto, “Prevention Rather Than Cure,” by allowing companies, inspectors, and regulators to verify the safety and performance of commercial water treatment equipment.

This article is published by permission https://www.workingpressuremag.com/