Global Drinking Water Approvals
As water scarcity becomes a critical issue for individuals around the world, manufacturers must use advanced materials to ensure the safety of water management components that come in contact with drinking water. Today’s manufacturers are continually relying on plastics for metal replacement, and these polymers must be tested in end-use conditions to be approved for contact with drinking water. As these materials reduce microbiological growth and eliminate the risk of hard metal contamination, drinking water-approved polymers for water management applications create advanced products that are lightweight, efficient, and resistant to the harsh elements found in plumbing, heating and sanitary systems.
The Importance of Global Drinking Water Approvals
Products like water meters come in contact with drinking water in residential and commercial settings and are increasingly developed with plastics that improve mechanical performance, chemical resistance and lightweighting. The materials used in these applications must prevent contamination of drinking water to promote longer-lasting water management systems and meet today’s water safety standards. Water meter components need drinking water approval to encourage safety of water management products across the globe. Although drinking water approvals may vary by country or region, these certifications are essential, and occasionally mandatory, for manufacturers of water meters and other water management systems.
What Do Different Drinking Water Approvals Mean?
There are several independent organizations across the world that verify the safety of materials and products that interact with drinking water. While some approvals are optional, others are mandatory certifications that manufacturers must receive to develop products for these different regions.
- NSF 61: Originally founded as the National Sanitation Foundation, today NSF develops public health standards and certification programs to help protect consumers and improve global human health. NSF/ANSI/CAN 61 is a drinking water approval through NSF that evaluates the health effects of drinking water system components, including plastic piping.
- KTW: KTW assessments, performed in accordance with standards from the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) of Germany, determine if substances from non-metallic products are released into drinking water and produce changes in the water that are non-tolerable.
- W270/DVGW: As another assessment based on the guidelines of the German Federal Environment Agency and the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water, W270 approval certifies that a product does not produce harmful microbial growth on non-metallic materials that are likely to come in contact with drinking water.
- ACS: ACS regulations ensure materials that come in contact with drinking water are not capable of modifying any of the essential properties of water according to regulations of the Attestation de Conformité Sanitaire (ACS) of France.
- WRAS: As a certification to confirm that products and materials comply with Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations or Scottish Byelaws in the United Kingdom, WRAS testing ensures water fittings are of an appropriate quality and standard and do not cause waste, misuse, undue consumption, or contamination of the water supply.
Solvay’s Drinking Water-Approved Materials
Due to the importance of drinking water approvals and the frequency with which manufacturers utilize specialty polymers for water management systems, Solvay voluntarily submits many of our materials for independent drinking water approval. Receiving certification for our products streamlines the approval process, so OEMs can develop water management products faster with materials that meet necessary safety standards.
Solvay has developed an impressive portfolio of products designed to specifically meet the needs of water meter manufacturers for every environment. Our Omnix® HPPA is engineered to bridge the cost/performance gap between lower performing PA66 and higher performing polyphthalamides in cold water applications. This high-performance polyamide ensures excellent dimensional stability, good chemical resistance and efficient cost-conscious manufacturing in water management systems. For warm and hot water environments, OEMs can rely on Amodel® PPA or Ryton® PPS, depending on the thermal resistance required. Amodel® PPA limits moisture absorption, can withstand temperatures between 40°C and 75°C and offers excellent durability in components with intermittent exposure to chlorinated water. In water meters that handle water over 75°C, OEMs can depend on Ryton® PPS for extraordinary dimensional stability and chemical resistance in the most demanding environments. Additionally, Ryton® PPS exhibits very low viscosity and can be injected into thin-walled parts. Each of these products has been approved for contact with drinking water in accordance with NSF 61, KTW, W270/DVGW, ACS and WRAS, among others.