Water quality is linked to a healthy ecosystem and the well-being of over 2 billion people on earth. While August is recognized as National Water Quality Month, the United Nations has also designated 2005-2015 as an International Decade for Action "Water for Life," in an effort to inspire conservation and sustainability efforts around the world. Water for Life and National Quality month serve as a reminder of activities and standards that support the preservation of water quality.
The United Nations reports that 2 million tons of sewage and other waste drain into the world's waters on a daily basis. Due to such pollutants, poor infrastructure and neglectful water management, declining water quality poses a threat to ecosystems and services.
A number of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) members and accredited standards developers, including the American Water Works Association (AWWA), ASTM International, and NSF International, have created standards and related documents providing important guidance on topics including drinking water treatment, water piping, and water analysis.
Through long-term continual efforts and campaign initiatives like the annual Drinking Water Week, AWWA works to unite the entire water community to protect public health and welfare and provide safe, sufficient, and sustainable water for all. AWWA initiatives include advancing education, science, management, government policies, technology, and standards for the water industry.
Standards also support the association's efforts to preserve water quality. As ANSI recently reported, the standard ANSI/AWWA C654-2013, Disinfection of Wells, describes the procedures for shock chlorination and bacteriological testing for the disinfection of wells for potable water service. This American National Standard is applicable to any new or existing well for potable water service that may have been contaminated as a result of construction, servicing, or maintenance.
International standards also help the preservation of clean water. Through the efforts of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), guidelines exist to help facilitate water management by providing practical tools for developing common understanding and cooperation between countries. ISO standards address aspects such as water quality and measurement, and the management of water supply services. One example is ISO 10523:2008, Water quality - Determination of pH. Test methods detailed in this document can be used on rain, drinking and mineral waters, bathing waters, surface and ground waters, and municipal and industrial waste waters. The standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 147, Subcommittee (SC) 2. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to TC 147/SC 2 is ASTM International.
ASTM also has developed a standard that guides water quality measurement programs. ASTM D5612-94(2008), Standard Guide for Quality Planning and Field Implementation of a Water Quality Measurement Program, addresses the sampling aspects of environmental data generation activities.
And when it comes to drinking water, an American National Standard from NSF International helps assure the safety of water treatment chemicals. NSF/ANSI 60-2014a, Drinking Water Treatment Chemicals - Health Effects, promotes quality and safety throughout the manufacturing and distribution supply chain.
Looking for more? ANSI has compiled a list of wastewater management and treatment standards.
Standards for water quality are just one component of assuring health and human safety. On the other side of the coin is conformity assessment - activities like testing, inspection, certification, and accreditation. A number of ANSI-accredited certification bodies (CBs) are active in assessing compliance to standards for water quality. To learn more about the scopes of accreditation for these bodies, take a look at ANSI's accreditation directory for the Product Certification Accreditation Program, or visit www.ansi.org/accreditation.