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 Package Drinking Water Treatment
 Technologies for Small Systems



This project’s objective was to develop a pilot program for verification testing of package drinking water treatment systems for use by small communities. The program included:

  • Developing standardized testing approaches
  • Providing a means for objectively obtaining performance data
  • Facilitating the transferability of credible data among states


In order for a small community to achieve compliance with new regulations, often it must install new equipment. Each state has its own approval process for accepting alternative treatment equipment. Historically, there has been little confidence in reciprocal or transferable data because of different test plans used or because data was generated in a nonobjective manner with unknown quality control. As a result, states have required most equipment to be pilot tested at every site of application and the cost burden has fallen on small communities without a guarantee that the equipment will be successful. A process was needed that reduced the number of pilot studies or the length of time a pilot must run to show performance capabilities and to gain state acceptance of use. Third-party verification takes the burden off the state to determine the quality of data.

This program included:

  • Developing standardized verification protocols and test plans
  • Convening and supporting government and industry partnerships for involvement by representatives of the major stakeholder constituency groups
  • Independent testing and validation of package equipment to obtain credible cost and performance data
  • Preparing reports on the performance and cost of specific vendors’ systems that address the treatment of common small-community problems (e.g., microbials, particulates, arsenic, and disinfection by-products)

Test protocols were sent to all states and approved by a steering committee. Equipment testing involved several steps:

  • A manufacturer selected a qualified testing organization, selected challenging field study sites, and prepared a field operations study design plan that conformed to the standardized test protocols and test plans
  • The National Science Foundation reviewed applications and field operations documents for conformity to protocols
  • Testing was conducted by the qualified organization
  • The testing organization analyzed data and prepared verification reports

Project Status

The ETV pilot program resulted in:

  • 17 published verification reports
  • 13 verification tests completed in the field
  • 2 vendors’ treatment systems tested in the field
  • 8 verification testing protocols approved by stakeholders
  • 23 generic test plan guidance documents for various drinking water treatment applications

Additional test plans for other applications are also being developed. The following applications are addressed:

Date Research Started

October 1995

Completion Date

September 2003

Date of Last Update

March 27, 2002


Tom Sorg

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