NSF International (www.nsf.org) established new requirements within NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components — Health Effects for regenerated and reactivated media used to treat public drinking water supplies. Most states in the U.S. currently require media and other products used to treat public drinking water to be certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 in order to verify that they will not contribute harmful levels of contaminants into drinking water. The new requirements establish criteria for the inspection of regeneration facilities and periodic testing of regenerated media by certification organizations. NSF/ANSI Standard 61 also requires that the regeneration and reactivation facilities have a quality system, which includes ongoing evaluation of contaminants in the raw source water being treated and an evaluation of the regeneration process to verify removal of these contaminants.

NSF/ANSI Standard 61 originally addressed only virgin media and did not contain criteria for facilities to use regenerated or reactivated media capable of achieving the same treatment objectives at a reduced operating cost. Spent process media generated by drinking water treatment plants can be readily treated and processed at licensed regeneration facilities and returned for several regeneration cycles to the water treatment facility. While NSF/ANSI Standard 61 sets traceability requirements to help ensure utilities receive back the same media they sent to be treated, the standard also allows for commingling of media from several utilities as long as the purchasers agree. The commingling aspect of the new requirements is important because it allows for the certification of regeneration companies that provide services to very small public water systems.