ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Tapping in: Standards for Safe Drinking Water

New York, May 10, 2007

A limitless supply of clean drinking water is something that many of us take for granted. A quick turn of the faucet, and voilà, there it is. But did you ever take a moment to think about the journey that water makes from its source to the kitchen sink, or how its quality measures up to other water around the country?

To celebrate National Drinking Water Week, an event observed annually during the first full week in May, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) takes a look at some of the standards-setting activities that help contribute to a clean and safe water supply.

Only Tap Water Delivers
From source water protection to distribution systems, ANSI-accredited standards developer the American Water Works Association (AWWA) has written more than one hundred fifty American National Standards to improve water quality for the American public. AWWA’s standards span 116 products and procedures, covering nearly all aspects of drinking water systems.

In honor National Drinking Water Week, AWWA launched a grassroots campaign, Only Tap Water Delivers, to elevate the value of water service in the minds of consumers and encourage community investment in water resources and infrastructure. Foremost among the campaign’s priorities is to remind us of the benefits that only tap water provides: public health and fire protection, support for the economy, and quality of life.

Case in Point
To protect the public against bacteria and other microbes, most utilities in the United States treat drinking water with some form of disinfection, such as chlorine, ozone, or chloramines. NSF International, through its Water Treatment and Distribution Systems Program, certifies treatment chemicals and system components to ensure that these products will not add harmful levels of contaminants to the water. NSF is an ANSI member and accredited standards developer that protects public health and safety by certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer goods.

Fun Water Facts
  • There is the same amount of water on Earth as there was when the Earth was formed. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank.

  • Water regulates the Earth's temperature. It also regulates the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes waste.

  • The human brain is 75% water; a living tree is also 75% water.

  • Water expands by nine percent when it freezes. Frozen water (ice) is lighter than water, which is why ice floats in water.

    [source: NSF International]

This week, the city of Washington, Iowa, became the first U.S. city to have its water treatment facility certified by NSF International. Certification to NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components -- Health Effects, ensures that the city’s chlorination system meets all requirements of the nationally recognized standard. ANSI/NSF 61 covers all devices, components and materials that contact drinking water, as well as all indirect additives and materials, from pipes and plumbing devices to faucets. Washington’s chlorination system, which was custom-built by the city’s water plant itself, treats one million gallons of water per day for Washington’s residents.

How Clean is Your Water?
Since 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required water suppliers to prepare annual consumer confidence reports detailing the water’s source, the treatment it receives at the local plant, and a summary of the previous year’s water quality test results.

If you haven't seen a copy of your community's report, call your water supplier and request one today. The report will help you become more familiar with the water quality in your community and learn how you can get involved in efforts to protect it.

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