Continued partnership aims to protect water quality and human health by promoting public awareness of onsite septic system maintenance issues and providing training, certification and education resources

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 18 other organizations to help protect the nation’s public health and water resources. The MOU helps homeowners, building owners and regulatory officials improve the management of decentralized wastewater systems. It adds three years to a collaborative partnership that was first signed by NSF International in 2014.

According to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, approximately one in five homes are served by individual decentralized or onsite wastewater systems, commonly known as septic systems. If not properly maintained, they can adversely affect aquifers, drinking water wells, rivers and lakes. According to the EPA, approximately half of existing decentralized systems are more than 30 years old and may malfunction at any given time, which poses a significant environmental and public health challenge.

The 2017 Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU renews the EPA and signatory organizations’ commitment to promote public awareness, provide training and certification, and support education related to maintenance of decentralized or onsite wastewater systems. These resources are provided to state and local governments as well as decentralized wastewater system inspectors, service professionals and operators.

“NSF International developed the first national standards for onsite wastewater treatment over 40 years ago, and along with its performance certification programs, continues its partnership with the EPA to raise awareness about this critical sanitation issue,” said Sharon Steiner, Program Manager of Water and Wastewater Systems at NSF International. “In collaboration with the EPA and the other participating organizations, NSF International will educate the industry and local governments about the role of septic systems and the health implications that may result if systems are not properly maintained.”

Sharon Steiner, Program Manager of Water and Wastewater Systems at NSF International, signs a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. EPA and 18 other organizations to help protect the nation’s public health and water resources.

NSF International recommends having a decentralized or septic system evaluated and certified by a service professional every three years. NSF International tests and certifies onsite septic systems and provides inspector accreditation.

For more information on the NSF International’s septic system services, please visit For more information on the EPA’s Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and septic system resources, please visit the EPA website at

Editor’s Note: For media interviews, please contact Thomas Frey, APR, at or +1 (734) 214-6242.

NSF International ( is a global independent not-for-profit organization that develops standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With locations in more than 30 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

NSF International provides risk assessment, testing, inspection and certification services for the water industry from source to tap. NSF led the development of the American National Standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water to help protect public health and the environment and minimize adverse health effects. In 1990, the U.S. EPA replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with these NSF standards.