Product Certification: Getting Certified in Quebec

Oct. 13, 2015
Provincial requirements include aesthetic quality testing for water products

About the author: Jason Carlson is staff chemist for UL LLC. Carlson can be reached at [email protected].

Did you know that Section 32 of Quebec’s Environmental Quality Act currently outlines requirements for potable water products that are beyond those of U.S. states and other Canadian provinces?

The additional Quebec requirements from April 2013 state that the work referred to in Section 32 of Environmental Quality Act Paragraphs 2 to 4 of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5.1, and Subparagraph (b) of Paragraph 1 of Article 10 require compliance with the standard NQ 3660-950. Confused? Please read on.

What Is Standard NQ 3660-950?

You may already be familiar with NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects. Most state and provincial governments require certification to this standard for all products and materials used within a public water distribution system. The standard covers the health effect risks from migrating chemical contaminants.

NQ 3660-950 was developed by the Bureau de Normalization du Québec, and it specifies the requirements for products and materials that come into contact with drinking water in order to preserve water quality. The standard considers both the impact on public health (covered in NSF/ANSI 61) and aesthetic quality. It applies to all material types (polymers, metals, cement, etc.) and product types (pipe, gaskets, coatings, valves, lubricants, hydrants, etc.) traditionally covered under NSF/ANSI 61. In fact, a product or material must already meet NSF/ANSI 61 requirements as a prerequisite to the aes- thetic quality testing phase of NQ 3660-950 certification.

What Are Aesthetics?

Aesthetics are the study of sensory or sensory-emotional values. NQ 3660-950 certification requires that potable water that comes into contact with a product or material does not pick up any undesirable flavor, odor, color or turbidity. Flavor and odor are assessed by volunteers, while color and turbidity are measured by chemical and analytical means.

What Types of Projects Require NQ 3660-950?

Per Section 32 of the Environmental Quality Act, Article 23 points to:
• The installation of water main;
• The installation or reconstruction of pumping, booster or re-chlorination stations;
• Drinking water reservoirs; and
• The installation of any equipment to increase current capacity.

Because all work done on distribution systems or treatment plants needs to be authorized by the Ministry of the Environment, it is best to check with the ministry on the most current policies.

Section 32 of Quebec’s Environmental Quality Act currently requires that municipal water distribution products be certified to NQ 3660-950. This standard requires that products already meet NSF/ANSI 61 health effects requirements as a prerequisite, in addition to its aesthetic requirements for flavor, odor, color and turbidity. Amendments have been proposed in the province for an either/or approach that would allow products to be certified to either NSF/ANSI 61 or NQ 3660-950. Regardless of the outcome of this proposed amendment, demonstrating that your product complies with NQ 3660-950 gives it a competitive advantage over other products in the marketplace that only meet the traditional health effects requirements.

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About the Author

Jason Carlson

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