Partnership highlights both NSF and EPA’s ongoing commitment to improve the nation's estimated 26 million onsite wastewater treatment systems

WASHINGTON — NSF International, a global organization that certifies products and writes standards for wastewater, drinking water, food and consumer goods, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 14 other national organizations, signifying their commitment to improving onsite wastewater treatment systems.

For the past 40 years, NSF International has helped develop more than 20 American National Standards for drinking water and wastewater treatment. In addition, NSF has supported the onsite wastewater treatment industry, government agencies, and consumers with third-party product testing and certification to consensus-based NSF American National Standards. Water products bearing the NSF Mark demonstrate product performance and reliability to national standards, and widespread acceptance of innovative water treatment technologies.

Today NSF continues to expand its water and environmental expertise through its sustainability division, including a new standard and certification for residential and commercial onsite water reuse treatment systems to ensure systems properly treat graywater and combined wastewater.

According to the EPA, about 20 percent of U.S. residences discharge four billion gallons of sewage daily into septic systems, and it’s estimated that 10 and 20 percent may not be properly treating wastewater.

Under the MOU, NSF International will continue its collaboration with the EPA and other partner organizations to improve the nation's estimated 26 million onsite treatment systems (often referred to as septic or decentralized systems). The goal is to encourage proper selection, use and management of onsite, decentralized treatment systems to protect public health and the environment.

“This diverse and dedicated group of stakeholders has the expertise and collective resources to promote and educate others about the proper selection, use and maintenance of onsite systems,” said Tom Bruursema, Director of NSF Sustainability. “NSF International is committed to public health and the opportunities that lie ahead for the partnership, and the leadership NSF can provide to help improve our nation's wastewater infrastructure.”

"The purpose of the renewed MOUs, first in 2008 and now again in 2011, is to continue and expand the ongoing collaborative relationships and to add organizations which focus on public health protection, product testing, and professional accreditation," EPA said in a statement. "The addition of both CDC and NSF International will enhance the partnership's access and understanding of relevant public health research, priorities, and initiatives along with state-of-the-art product certification and testing and professional accreditation."

Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability Director Tom Bruursema contact Greta Houlahan at 734-913-5723 or

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About NSF International (NSF): NSF International ( has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944. As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, auditing, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, consumer products, chemical and health science industries.

Operating in more than 150 countries, NSF is committed to protecting human health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. NSF also founded the National Center for Sustainability Standards, a national initiative to support the development of sustainability standard activities.

Additional NSF services include NSF Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR).