ASSE 1087 Presentation | PQE


Industry standards are a great way to ensure that a business is dedicated to making quality products. Testing and certification to consensus standards means that products are able to meet stringent requirements that challenge the integrity of a product. The different reasons why standards are created can include, but are not limited to, industry motivations, political pressures, or regulatory needs. In the case of ASSE 1087, it was a combination of a few of these elements.

For starters, some California inspectors required companies to provide proof of NSF / ANSI 44 certification on commercial water softeners. While to a novice this might sound like a great idea, within its scope NSF / ANSI 44 very specifically states that it is dedicated only to residential applications. Therefore, commercial products do not correspond well to this standard. Additionally, Texas was working on backflow rules for water softeners, so the need to write a protocol arose. Finally, as commercial water equipment does not have a diverse presence in existing drinking water treatment standards, the industry was struggling with plumbing code compliance. While it is true that there are standards for drinking water treatment products, these standards mainly focus on residential type products; standards that encompass commercial products deal only with the safety of the materials with which the products are constructed. As a result, industry leaders have formed a group to create the ASSE 1087 standard to address these concerns.

The ASSE 1087 Perimeter

Perimeters can get complicated at times, but in the case of the ASSE 1087 it’s pretty straightforward. Any water treatment equipment used in a commercial building is covered by the scope of the standard. This includes point of entry (POE) and point of use (POU) applications connected to building plumbing to improve drinking water quality characteristics. This standard includes test requirements for components and complete systems. Some examples of the types of equipment covered include filters, softeners, reverse osmosis kits, ultraviolet systems, ozone systems and stills.

Finally, we’ll go into very specific details about what the standard covers. Before doing so, however, it is useful to discuss what is not covered by this standard and why not.

What is NOT covered

Electrical compliance. Some products use electrical components. In most cases, these components must meet electrical compliance standards independent of ASSE 1087. About ten years ago, the drinking water treatment series of standards removed the verification of electrical compliance. products, because there are different requirements for different types of electrical components. The expertise for these requirements can be found in laboratories and certification programs that perform this type of work.

Typically, there is little to no overlap between water and electrical experts, so asking those in the water to verify precise compliance with electrical requirements was a rather arbitrary request. In addition, the electrical requirements were different depending on the country in which the product is sold. Therefore, the electrical requirements to which a product must comply are not included in this standard, so that the competent authorities can assess them accurately.

Contaminant reduction performance. Contaminant reduction requirements may vary by location. Specifically, when large commercial systems are manufactured, they are manufactured to meet very specific needs where they will be installed. As a result, the feasibility for a manufacturer to be able to invest in the individual certification of each configuration for reduction requirements is not feasible. Reduction performance can be added to the standard later if the industry is able to develop realistic test protocols that will be available to everyone.

Residential water treatment devices. Residential water treatment products have a variety of different standards that are already in use. There are even federal and state regulations that refer to standards for drinking water treatment units. Not only are some of the tests found in ASSE 1087 not applicable for residential use, their inclusion in this standard would have been a duplication of effort, so it was deemed unnecessary.

Standard requirements

Below are the individual requirements for each section of ASSE 1087.

Connections. Device input and output connections must conform to the appropriate ASME, ASSE, or SAE standards. Appropriate standards cover various threaded assemblies, welded connections and push fit connections, and are delineated in Standard 1087. This helps to ensure that systems can be installed correctly and easily using readily available materials.

Debit. Service flow and pressure drop tests are required for most systems. This test ensures that the device can meet the manufacturer’s requirements for flow rates at specific pressure drops of 15 and 25 psi. Some units are exempt, such as reverse osmosis systems and devices certified as components.

Bypass flow capability is required on some products, such as cation exchange water softeners that have a regeneration cycle. This is to ensure that there is always an adequate working flow of raw water during the regeneration cycle. The bypass flow must be at least 50% of the measured service flow.

Backsiphoning. Siphoning tests during system regeneration are required on products such as cation exchange water softeners that use brine to regenerate the system. This is to ensure that the brine is not returned to the water source. Appliances that include a certified backflow preventer may be exempt from this requirement. This test is performed by pulling a vacuum across the 12.3 psi inlet and measuring the vertical rise in the fluid level of the brine tank. Systems must have less than 3 inches of vertical rise.

Structural integrity. Four tests are necessary to verify the structural integrity of the system or component.

  1. 24 hour pressure loss test. This test is to ensure that all gaskets, gaskets, and connections on the unit continue to maintain static working pressure. It operates at 50 psi and the unit should not lose more than 3 psi in a 24 hour period.
  2. Pressure shock test (water hammer). This test consists of determining whether the device can withstand the pressure shock wave resulting from the rapid closing of a valve in the downstream piping. This test should be performed such that the shock wave produces a recordable pressure of twice the manufacturer’s maximum working pressure, or 200 psi, whichever is greater.
  3. Hydrostatic test. This test ensures that the system will be able to withstand the peak pressures found in the plumbing system. When testing, the pressure will gradually increase until it reaches three times the manufacturer’s maximum working pressure, or 300 psi, whichever is greater, and the system should maintain that pressure for 15 minutes without breaking. , crack or leak. Minor drops would not be a failure.
  4. Bike test. This test is performed to ensure that the system will be able to withstand repeated pressure cycles. Systems must withstand 100,000 cycles from 0 psi to maximum working pressure plus 10 psi or 150 psi, whichever is greater. Any rupture, cracking or leakage constitutes failure; minor drops are acceptable.

Material security. Material safety tests, also known as extraction tests, should be evaluated for all wetted components in the system. These tests refer to existing standards, such as NSF / ANSI 42 or NSF / ANSI / CAN 61. In general, most units can be tested as a complete system, but in cases where the size of the system can prevent In this way, it is also possible to verify the conformity of the individual components through a technical examination of the list of parts in contact with the fluid.

All systems and components must also meet the low lead requirements of NSF / ANSI / CAN 372. This is now a federal requirement for all new products; including this in the standard ensures that the system complies with federal laws.

Literature and Documentation Requirements. Two key pieces of literature and documentation are required by the standard. The first concerns installation and maintenance instructions. This should include information such as inlet and outlet fitting sizes, maximum working pressures, recommended flow rates, spare part numbers and information, as well as key information regarding drain fittings and air gap requirements. This information helps to ensure that the installation is performed according to the manufacturer’s intentions and that the system is functioning properly.

The second element concerns the identification and marking requirements. This requirement is usually accompanied by a data label and should include information such as manufacturer’s name, system model number, operating temperature and pressure ranges, and service flow rates. The input and output connections should also be clearly marked. All labels used must comply with UL 969 to ensure they remain in place at all times.


The ASSE 1087 standard filled a gap that was missing in the water treatment products industry. Much time and effort has gone into ensuring that it provides good protocols to ensure the safety of products that are used to transport treated drinking water in commercial environments. ASSE 1087 was recently adopted into plumbing codes, so understanding and meeting these requirements will become more and more essential as inspectors begin to look for these types of products to certify in the future.

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