In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of ways to purchase a new water filter. You can order online, pick one up at the home improvement store or visit your local water treatment specialist. But, how can you really know if a water filter is effective and safe to use? Many of the contaminants found in our water cannot be detected with our senses and we need to be sure that our water filters are working. This is why third-party certification exists and we recommend those products for your home.

What is Third Party Certification?

There are independent organizations operating in many industries and water filtration products are no exception. There are certificates in-place that prove that a product meets the claims made by the manufacturer. An independent tester will carry out rigorous and regular testing before a certificate is issued. This helps you to have more confidence in the industry and it allows you to make more informed choices.

Understanding Primary and Secondary Contaminants

There are many possible causes of water contamination and they can vary a great deal depending on where you live and other factors. Some contaminants are more dangerous and others simply make your life harder. The EPA has three broad categories for water contaminants, they are: primary, secondary and emergent.

Emergent contaminants are not fully understood yet, more research is required and they are not covered in this article.

Primary contaminants are immediate health threats. They include lead, arsenic, PFOS chemicals and more. Consuming primary contaminants is harmful to health in any concentration and they should be avoided at all costs.

Secondary contaminants could include iron, calcium and other dissolved materials that can cause hardness, staining and other problems. Consuming secondary contaminants is not considered to be a health risk.

The EPA has legislation in-place to maintain public water safety standards, but contaminants still find their way into our water on a regular basis. For this reason, many homeowners install one or more filtration systems as a final barrier.

Which Certifications Do I Need?

When you’re shopping for a water filter, there are three primary independent certification organizations that you should look out for. They are the Water Quality Association (WQA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the International Association of Plumbing and Manufacturing Officials (IAPMO). These groups produce a number of water filtration certifications as follows:

NSF/ANSI 42: A minimum standard for aesthetic effects, including taste, odor, and appearance.

NSF/ANSI 44: Water softening efficacy, capacity, and safety.

NSF/ANSI 53: The standard for a water filter that claims to remove or reduce more than 50 health related contaminants, including chromium, lead, heavy metals, VOCs, bacteria, and more.

NSF/ANSI 58: The efficacy, efficiency, and integrity of reverse osmosis (RO) filtration systems.

NSF/ANSI 401: The efficacy relating to 15 specific emerging contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and herbicides.

WQA S-100: Water softeners.

WQA S-200: Residential and commercial water filtration systems.

WQA S-300: Point-of-use (POU) RO filtration systems.

WQA S-400: Point-of-use (POU) distillation systems.

If you want to learn more about certified filters for your home, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.