By Rick Andrew

The NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treatment Unit Standards in­clude testing-based evaluations for several characteristics of point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) water-treat­ment systems, including the safety of the materials in con­tact with drinking water, structural integrity, and reduction of contaminants.

In addition to these familiar testing requirements, the standards recognize the importance of communicating user responsibilities, including installation, operation, and maintenance instructions, as well as informing users and potential users about contaminant-reduction capabilities. These requirements, detailed in Section 8 Instruction and Information of each of the standards, cover what is gener­ally known as product literature.

Types of Product Literature
There are four main types of product literature described in the standards:

  1. Installation, operation, and maintenance instructions. This encompasses what most people would think of as the manual for the product. Typical requirements for this piece of literature include the following
  • Model number and trade designation.
  • Complete name, address, and telephone number of manufacturer.
  • Flushing and conditioning procedures.
  • Rated service flow.
  • Maximum working pressure.
  • Maximum operating temperature.
  • Detailed installation instructions, including an explana­tion or schematic diagram of proper connections to the plumbing system.
  • General operation and maintenance requirements, in­cluding but not limited to suggested frequency of filter replacement or service to the system, user responsibili­ty, and parts and service availability.
  • Sources for replaceable components.
  • Statement that the system and installation shall comply with applicable state and local regulations.
  • Statement that the system is to be supplied only with cold water.
  • Statement that the system conforms to the applicable standard(s) for the specific performance claims as veri­fied and substantiated by test data.
  • Model number of replacement components.
  • Rated capacity/rated service life.
  • Diagram showing proper air gap installation to waste connections.

Generally, this is the information that is required for an end-user to install, use, and maintain the equipment properly to achieve the expected treatment results throughout the life of the product. Without this informa­tion, users would likely have difficulty achieving those expected results.

2. Data plate. This is the information that is included directly on the product, and it is critical to helping end-users identify the most important characteristics of the product and easily find more information about it. Typical requirements for the data plate include the following:

  • Model number.
  • Name and address of manufacturer.
  • Functional description of the system (e.g., chemical reduction or mechanical reduction, or both).
  • Maximum working pressure in kilopascals (kPa)/pounds per square inch gauge (psig).
  • Maximum operating temperature in Celsius/Fahrenheit.
  • Statement noting the system conforms to NSF/ANSI 42 for the specific performance claims as verified and substantiated by test data.

3. Replacement components. The packaging for replace­ment components must include the appropriate infor­mation to help end-users be sure they have the correct replacement element for their product. This informa­tion typically includes the following data:

  • Model number or name of component.
  • Model number or series identification of system(s) in which the component is to be used.
  • Name and address of manufacturer.

4. Performance data sheet. Communication of contam­inant-reduction capabilities and other specifications for the product is covered by requirements for the performance data sheet. This piece of literature, which must be available for potential end-users during prepurchase research, is important to help end-users compare and contrast products. Typical information required in the performance data sheet includes the following: Model number and trade designation.

  • Complete name, address, and telephone number of manufacturer.
  • Rated service flow.
  • Rated capacity/rated service life.
  • Maximum working pressure.
  • Maximum operating temperature.
  • General installation conditions and needs.
  • Manufacturer’s limited warranty.
  • General operation and maintenance requirements, including but not limited to suggested frequency of component replacement or service to the system, user responsibility, and parts and service availability.
  • Statement that the system conforms to the applicable standard(s) for specific performance claims as verified and substantiated by test data.
  • Statement that while testing was performed under standard laboratory conditions, actual performance may vary.
  • Statement for claims and table of contaminant reduction: “This system has been tested according to NSF/ANSI __ for reduction of the substances listed below. The concentration of the indicated substances in water entering the system was reduced to a concentration less than or equal to the permissible limit for water leaving the system, as specified in NSF/ANSI __.”
  • Minimum contaminant reductions per the applicable standard must be included in tabular format.

In certain cases, such as when specific contaminant-reduc­tion claims are made or with some system types or con­figurations, there are additional information requirements for the product literature. The list presented here is not exhaustive but provides a general overview of the types of requirements typical of most products.

New Development with Product Literature Requirements
Over the years, the NSF Joint Committee on Drinking Water Treatment Units has considered printed, physical product literature and electronic product literature provid­ed online. Electronic literature provided online can be more convenient for both manufacturers and end-users, but printed, physical literature provided with the product also has value. Some end-users may have limited or no internet access to obtain online literature, which is an additional consideration.

With the most recent publications of the NSF/ANSI Drink­ing Water Treatment Unit Standards, there is now a revised requirement stating that product literature must be pro­vided with each system or be publicly accessible online. It also requires that, upon request, manufacturers shall sub­mit physical copies. With this update, the standards now acknowledge that, for many purposes, the convenience of online access to product literature is sufficient, but in those cases where printed, physical literature is desired, it must be provided.

The Importance of User Instructions
Much of the focus of the NSF/ANSI Drinking Water Treat­ment Units Standards is rightly focused on product-test­ing requirements. These tests are critical to ensuring the quality and fitness for purpose of POU and POE systems. However, the importance of user instructions and commu­nication to the user regarding product capabilities is not overlooked. With this information, users are much more likely to accomplish their water-treatment goals as they se­lect, install, operate, and maintain POU and POE systems. And now with the recent standards updates, the standards acknowledge the convenience of online literature while continuing to respect the value of printed, physical literature.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: [email protected]



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