By Peter S. Cartwright, P.E., Scott McDonald and Kevin Wong

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has developed B483, a testing standard for POU and POE products that goes beyond NSF/ANSI standards. These provisions are intended to harmonize the existing NSF/ANSI standards with the mechanical requirements for the Canadian plumbing code.

Following are answers to questions about CSA B483, what makes this standard different from the NSF standards so familiar to us and how it will likely affect products manufactured and/or sold in Canada.

What is the CSA?
 It is a non-for-profit membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace. It is not unlike NSF in its emphasis on standards development.

  • CSA International is an internationally recognized testing laboratory accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, the Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Administration, UL and ANSI.
  • CSA is the most widely accepted certification mark in Canada for manufacturers and consumers.
  • CSA marks are accepted by regulatory authorities in the occupational health and safety, electrical, gas, building, plumbing and many other fields in Canada and the US.

What components are affected?
Fittings and components such as faucets, valves, diverters, tubing, etc.

What are the additional testing provisions?

  • Lifecycle on/off (valves, diverters and swing spouts).
  • Quality of coating finishes (e.g., corrosion, flaking, etc.).
  • Thermal cycling for faucet devices.
  • Backflow preventer tests, where applicable.
  • Solenoids tests, if used.
  • Open tank overflow prevention.

How is this standard administered?

  • It addresses POU and POE products that currently fall under any of the NSF/ANSI standards, as well as POE products with no standard.
  • All POU products have to comply with all applicable NSF/ANSI requirements plus B483 requirements.
  • All POE products have to comply only with the material safety and mechanical integrity requirements and not the performance requirements of the applicable NSF/ANSI standard.
  • Other products affected:
        — filters in refrigerators
        — filters in water coolers or water coolers themselves (maybe).
  • POU products have to comply with all the applicable NSF/ANSI requirements plus B483 requirements if they make health claims.
  • POU products making only aesthetic claims (i.e., those under NSF/ANSI Standard 42) have to comply with the material safety and measurement integrity portions of that standard as well as the B483 requirements.

What is the Canadian Regulatory Structure?
The federal government and a number of committees and forums, directs discussion, research and standards development into the form of federally mandated guidelines. These guidelines are adopted individually by the provinces either in their unmodified format, or in some modified form with rationale. In the case of CSA’s plumbing standards, every five years new standards can petition to become part of the National Plumbing Code, which is normally adopted by the provinces. This means that CSA B483 can potentially become part of the National Code by 2010 at the earliest.

What is the timeline for B483?

  • B483 published on April 19th, 2007.
  • Some provinces may choose to wait until it is part of the National Plumbing Code before adopting it.
  • It will not be included in the National Plumbing Code until 2010 (next update).
  • It can be adopted by any province after being published as a CSA standard.
  • Therefore, new regulations won’t happen immediately all across the country.
  • It is likely that by 2010 (or shortly thereafter) most provinces will regulate to B483 standard.

What are the perceived effects on the water treatment industry?

  • For manufacturers, additional testing may be required (beyond the appropriate NSF/ANSI Standard).
  • Dealers purchasing uncertified, complete POU and POE products will have time to get them certified to B483. Otherwise, they will have to purchase certified products.
  • Dealers wishing to sell complete POU and POE systems under private label will need to use only certified components and then get the assembled system certified or purchase a fully certified system.
  • The provinces are in charge of water quality regulations and they may regulate as they see fit: after B483 standard publishes, provinces can choose to adopt it in whole, or in part, in their regulatory requirements.
  • Adoption by a province, likely through regulation, also takes time, as they typically go through a review of their current regulations and usually (but not always) ask for public input to the changes.
  • In a few cases, there is pre-testing regulation at the provincial level that dictates that as a standard is formed, it gets worked into the code for that product. Alternatively, a province may wish to prevent the national work and forge their own route for certification, legislation and enforcement of certified products using alternative standards such as NSF.

Corresponding author’s note
All in all, the standard is just that; it makes us all the more honest. We can clarify as to the various health and aesthetic levels as well as the performance levels that have made CSA famous in Canada. This standard raises the bar for water treatment manufacturers and dealers. It will add an underlying level of credibility and reliance on the industry that other manufacturers have enjoyed and benefited from for decades. Initial effects will be felt by all, from the manufacturers with the extra costs of certification, to the dealers, for self-labeled systems and their companion certification, to the consumers who will bear the cost of all this work. It will level the playing field and hopefully prevent some standards issues we have seen in other industries recently.

About the corresponding author
Kevin Wong is the Executive Director of the Canadian Water Quality Association; he can be reached at CWQA, 295 The West Mall, Suite 330, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9C 4Z4, telephone (416) 695-3068 or via email k.wong@cwqa.com

About CWQA
The Canadian Water Quality Association promotes the individual right to quality water and growth of the water quality improvement industry; educates water quality professionals; serves as a unified voice in government and public relations and provides a role in consumer education. CWQA members are kept in the forefront of the industry by way of the latest technical and scientific information acquired through laboratory testing and research studies. This information is disseminated to members through newsletters and special publications. Visit www.cwqa.com.

 

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