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Water Quality Standards

Updated on January 9, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


Water quality standards define how we test for water impurities like pathogens and toxins, acceptable levels of various substances, how water quality measuring equipment is installed and maintained and even the handling of samples in route to the lab.

European nations tend to follow ISO water quality standards over national ones, while the U.S. still have a network of water quality standards from the ASTM, ANSI, NSF and other groups. However, the goal of all of these standards is the same - ensure clean drinking water for people and minimize water pollution.

Many water quality standards set limits for acceptable pathogen and chemical levels in drinking water.
Many water quality standards set limits for acceptable pathogen and chemical levels in drinking water. | Source

ISO Standards for Water Quality

ISO 6107 outlines the standard terms and definitions used in other water quality standards
ISO 5667 addresses water sampling for water quality tests. ISO std 5337 part 3 addresses the preservation of water samples and their proper handling.

ISO 5667-5 gives the ISO's guidance on sampling water from water treatment systems and water distribution piping. Part 13 covers sludge sampling. ISO 5667 part 16 gives guidance on bio-testing water samples. ISO 5667-22 gives recommendations on the placement of groundwater monitoring locations.
ISO 7027 is the standard method for determining the turbidity of water.

ISO 7887 is the method of determining the color of water. This standard was updated in 2011.
ISO 8689 is the standard for the biological classification for rivers.
ISO 10301 describes how the presence of halogenated hydrocarbons are found using gas chromatography. ISO 28540 is the mass spectrometric detection / gas chromatography method to measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH within water samples.
ISO 10523 is the standard method determining a water sample's pH.
ISO 11348 lists several procedures to determine the inhibitory effect of water by using a luminescent bacteria test; both liquid dried and freeze dried Vibrio fischeri bacteria can be used.
ISO 15553 describes how to Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts from water and properly identify them.

ISO 15839 gives the specifications and performance tests to be used with on line sensors for monitoring water quality.
ISO 17381 is a standard regarding the selection and application of "ready to use" test kits for water analysis.
ISO 20079 describes how to determine the toxic effect of waste water on duckweed, also known as Lemna minor.

ASTM Water Quality Standards

Most of the ASTM water quality standards address measuring water quality during oil drilling, mineral exploration and fracking.

ASTM D5784 describes how subsurface water quality devices are to be used and installed. This standard was published in 1990 and reaffirmed in 2006. ASTM D5872 describes how subsurface water quality monitoring equipment for use with drilling equipment is used.

ASTM D5781 outlines the use of water quality monitoring devices with dual wall reverse circulation drilling equipment. ASTM D5875 is the standard for cable-tool drilling equipment and the equipment used to monitor water quality from those rigs.

ASTM D7069 is the ASTM field guide for ensuring quality assurance when sampling ground water in the field. The only thing worse than polluted groundwater is halting work needlessly because you falsely think there is polluted groundwater because contaminants from someone's glove or surface soil got into the sample.

ANSI Standards for Water Quality

ASTM F2737 is the ANSI approved standard for HDPE water quality units.
NSF 44 is the standard for water softeners using cation exchange, and it is ANSI approved. NSF 245 is the ANSI approved standard for nitrogen reduction in wastewater treatment systems. NSF 350 is the standard for water reuse treatment systems and is ANSI approved.

European Water Quality Standards

Most European standards for water quality are now set by the ISO.

DS EN 14996 is the standard for assuring the quality of an aquatic environment using biological and ecological assessments. DS EN 15110 is the standard for sampling zooplankton.
DS EN 13946 describes how benthic diatoms should be sampled and pre-treated when taken from rivers.

BSI EN 12952-12 is the British standard for boiler water quality. This is specific to hot water boilers.
DIN EN 16161 is the English language version of the German standard for measuring the chlorophyll-a concentration in water samples, both fresh water and salt water.

SAE Standards for Water Quality

SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, has set several water quality standards specific to aerospace applications.

SAE TP 2006-01-2014 refers to water quality on board the Space Shuttle, as it is generated by fuel cells and then routed through a microbial check valve. SAE/TP 2008-01-2196 is the general water quality standard for all space vehicles and habitats like the international space station.
SAE/TP 2007-01-3217 describes the use of Colorimetric-Solid Phase Extraction or C-SPE for water quality monitoring.

US Federal Standards for Water Quality Management

40 CFR Part 130 are the federal regulations for water quality planning and management. 40 CFR Part 131 are the U.S. federal government's water quality standards. These were published in 2012. 40 CFR Part 132 is specific to the Great Lakes.

The American Society of Civil Engineers standard ASCE 33-01 gives the comprehensive water quality management agreement for use in inter-agency water quality management or the coordination of several municipal and city governments.


Submit a Comment

  • alocsin profile image


    5 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I imagine one can find this out by asking the local water quality board. Voting this Up and Useful.


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