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NSF 600: Changes Coming to the Water Industry

NSF 600: Changes Coming to the Water Industry

UPDATE: Since this blog was originally published, there have been more developments in coatings approved by NSF 600 standards. More coatings are currently being tested and expected to be approved. We will be putting out an updated article once we know more. In the meantime, please stay tuned for more information or give us a call at 651-773-5111 to learn more.

On April 27, 2020, NSF International released new regulations and rules for the water industry: NSF 600, otherwise known as NSF 60 & NSF 61. These standards will go into effect on January 1, 2023, to give owners, contractors, and engineers time to prepare. If you are concerned about what NSF 600 means for you, this is what you need to know.

Why and What’s Changing

After thorough research and studies, multiple organizations including the EPA, Health Canada, and Certifying Bodies determined that three chemicals should be significantly reduced in any coating materials that come into contact with potable water, such as the interior wet areas of tanks, pipes, and pumps, to ensure healthy drinking water and environment. These chemicals are xylenes, ethyl benzene and toluene, and they are used as solvents in coating systems, which make the application and removal processes easier.

Starting in 2023, coating options for the interior wet area will be significantly more limited due to the reduction of those three chemicals. Currently, zinc-epoxy systems are the most used coating systems for tank interiors. Once NSF 600 is in effect only 100% solids coating systems, organic zinc rich primers and aromatic polyurethanes are expected to be approved. Tnemec’s water base epoxy may also make the cut, and Sherwin Williams is also working on alternative coatings to give clients more options.

What to Expect

Because of these upcoming changes, contractors may have to invest in new equipment, training, and insurances to meet demands. Thus, water tower and tank owners should anticipate a 20-30% price increase for any areas where potable water is stored, though these numbers are mostly based off of speculation and anticipation; we will know the true impact over time. However, 100% solids coating systems have a 25+ year lifespan, which means it will cost less over time to maintain.

Another perk using100% solids coating systems provide is less overall cure times, which means the entire process from draining to refilling the water tank can be completed on a shorter schedule.

What Should I Do to Get Ready for NSF 600?

If you plan to recoat your tower after January 1, 2023 there is not much owners need to do to prepare for these new regulations, aside from adjusting your budget. If you plan on having your water tank reconditioned prior to then, know that your current coating will be accepted and will not have to be redone to meet new standards, but keep in mind any touchups or repairs will need to be done with NSF 600-approved 100% solids coating systems.

It is also important to take this time to find the right engineering firm that is not only aware of these latest rules and regulations, but is ready for these changes. KLM Engineering is prepared for NSF 600 and has the team to help you navigate these adjustments. If you would like to get in touch with one of our representatives to discuss your budget or to learn more, please give us a call at 651-773-5111.