NEW PAINTING REGULATIONS FOR POTABLE TANKS

Interior coating systems for potable tanks changed January 2023. The new regulations apply to tanks that are either new or are being repainted.

The United States and Canada adhere to the NSF/ANSI/CAN 600 standard for drinking water system components.

Who Is NSF?

NSF was founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation to help standardize sanitation and food safety at a time when the United States had no national sanitation standards. As NSF expanded services beyond sanitation and became a global public health and safety organization, they changed their name to NSF in 1990.

From the beginning, NSF set a course to create independent standards and product testing programs to help improve overall public health. NSF has more than 140 currently active public health standards and independent testing protocols. They address products ranging from home water treatment systems to kitchen and household appliances to dietary supplements.

That includes water storage tanks. The changes are to further protect the integrity of drinking water since the allowable limits of solvents are decreasing.

The EPA and Health Canada follow NSF/NASI/CAN 600, formerly known as Annex A of NSF/ANSI/CAN 61. This regulation requires that the two countries follow criteria based on new Health Canada Mac values for toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. Essentially, it has lowered the allowable leaching levels for the solvents, which are frequently used in coatings for drinking water system components, according to nsf.org.

Making drinking water safer is the goal.

The allowable amount of such solvents as Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene is decreasing significantly. These solvents are used commonly for  water tank painting in potable tanks and for touch-ups, so reducing the allowable amounts will have a huge impact.

Since this was such a big switch, there’s been an implementation period to give manufacturers and customers time to transition to compliant products.  As of January 1, 2023, the new regulations took effect. For the water storage tank industry, this means that all tanks used for potable water, including dual-purpose tanks, will need to follow the new regulations.

Drinking water has always had stricter standards due to it being for human consumption. As of now, the new regulations don’t address fire protection or process tanks.

Coating manufacturers must either replace or create new formulas that meet the criteria. These changes will mean that some paints are no longer be viable options as of 2023.  Many cost-effective paint systems will no longer be allowed, though some existing higher-end paint systems will continue to be used and there will be new paint systems created to address the new requirements.

Paint manufacturers are producing new paints that adhere to the regulations. The approved interior paint systems are already being applied to newly built tanks. The new regulations apply to the maintenance of existing potable tanks. Basically, if a potable tank’s interior is repainted, the existing paint will need to be stripped, and the newly approved coating will need to be applied.

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