Friday, February 05, 2010

California Bans Berkey Water Filter Systems?

As a fan of the Berkey water filter systems, it is ridiculous for California's new law to effectively ban these wonderful water filter devices. However, the State is broke, so it is doing anything it can do to increase the monies coming into the State's coffers - including requiring expensive certification tests that are not applicable to the Berkey filter devices.


Suspension of Berkey Products To California Residents Begining January 1, 2010

California, has adopted AB 1953 / SB 1334 & 1395 / HSC Section 116875. This revised “no lead law” as it’s commonly known, goes into effect January 1, 2010. The law stipulates that any “end-use device intended to convey or dispense water for human consumption through drinking or cooking,” as well as each of their individual components, materials and “pipe, pipe or plumbing fittings, or fixtures,” or flux, must be “lead free” as defined by California law. Under SB 1334, certification MUST be performed by an “independent ANSI-approved third party testing organization.” It appears that even if a product and each component of that product has no metal alloys and if a purification system actually reduces lead, under Section 116875, it must be be certified. An example of this is the Berkey sport water purification bottle; each of its components as well as raw materials utilized will have to be certified.

Research indicates that there are at least two different certification standards available, but there seems to be disagreement as to which standards will be acceptable to the state of California’s review Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the agency in charge of reviewing products and their certification. There is further confusion regarding testing protocols. While DTSC has issued an outline, it appears that the final protocols have yet to be settled upon. Throughout Berkey Systems ongoing research on this issue, they were unable to get clarification on the above requirements, instead it was suggested that “lawyers review the wording of the law to determine” how “they interpret the scope of the mandatory certification...” in what already appears to be a muddy mess. Unfortunately, many questions being asked simply can’t be answered by the January 1st deadline and as such, “strict compliance with the law” is recommended. In addition, should Berkey Systems desire to change any of their suppliers after certification, it appears that permission must be obtained by the certifying organization and that re-certification is mandatory, all at their own expense. At the end of this letter are just a few of the requirements needed to be certified, under this revised law.

Berkey Systems will continue to monitor the situation and as they get clarification on the issues for which they currently are unable to obtain answers, they will be able to make a further determination as to whether it will be in their best interest to pursue the matter further.

If you are in California, or have friends or family in California, please be sure to pickup an set of Black Berkey elements to have in reserve, for the just in case.


The Berkey Guy


…Applicant agrees to furnish all necessary drawings, test data, laboratory reports and product samples required by the Certification Company (CC). The CC is not responsible for loss or damage to any materials submitted…

…Listee shall promptly furnish to CC, in writing, the street address, hours of operation, anticipated dates when plants will be temporarily closed or shut down, anticipated dates when plants will temporarily cease production and all local or state holidays of each plant where the listed product is being manufactured or to be manufactured by or on behalf of Listee, and each location where the listed product is warehoused or stored by or on behalf of Listee. Listee shall also provide the name and telephone number of a contact person for each such plant or storage location, both at the time of application for evaluation and in the event of any changes in this information. Listee shall provide such information for all plants and storage locations, whether foreign or domestic. If the product is imported or to be imported, Listee shall also provide the name, street address, telephone number and contact person of the importer and the consignee…

…Listee shall maintain the product design, quality and workmanship in accordance with the current applicable standards recognized by CC, or as such standards may be changed, and as incorporated in the samples and documents submitted for evaluation and inspection by the CC. In addition, Listee shall make no substantial change in material, manufacturing process, marking or design of the product without prior written approval of the CC. Listee acknowledges and agrees that (a) new drawings, tests and product samples may be required as a result of any such substantial changes; (b) any substantial change in the original product after acceptance and listing by CC which is not authorized by CC will automatically result in delisting of the product until such written approval is received; and (c) a new application, additional fees and test reports may be required in the event of any such delisting…

…Listee consents to the review of listee’s products by CC or its subcontractor and Listee shall permit CC or its subcontractor to make up to four (4) announced or unannounced continuous compliance inspections of; (a) each of Listee’s domestic and foreign manufacturing or storage facilities; (b) Listee’s records relating to quality control, production, quantity of inventory and shipping of listed products (collectively, “Records”); and (c) Listee’s products themselves during each listing year; provided, however, that in the event CC reasonably believes in good faith that Listee is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of this Listing Agreement, CC may make a reasonable number of additional announced or unannounced inspections of such facilities, records and products as it shall deem necessary or appropriate to protect its rights hereunder and to the Certification Marks. CC maintains the right to make inspections to any domestic or foreign manufacturing or storage facilities, which are owned or operated by Listee..

…At the time of each inspection, the inspector shall have the right of immediate entry to all manufacturing and other areas, the right to require appropriate personnel to accompany the inspector, full access to all records, production and products, the right to take random samples, and the right to any other service the inspector reasonably deems to be necessary or appropriate to the proper completion of the inspection. Such inspections may be made at any time during normal business hours….

…Listee shall pay to CC an inspection fee for any inspection conducted under the provisions of agreement. All costs of inspection, including laboratory fees if outside laboratory testing is required by CC, shall be borne by Listee…


Anonymous said...

Its been almost a year, any new info?

The Moderator said...

It appears that the law (HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
SECTION 116875(b)(1)) referred to in the link is still active in California:

Therefore, I would say that the ban is still in place and unless or until Berkey decides to pay for the certification, Berkey products will not be sold to California.

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. Just get certified! I guess they're too cheap to do that. The Berkey company is shady anyway and won't publish reports of water tests with any legs to stand on.. they also don't test their filters periodically and publish the reports for consumers.

Anonymous said...

You are worried about the state of California wants to increase its revenue, well so does Berkey. It’s overpriced, homemade-cheap quality. The Berkey filter element maybe filter the water, but too many design flaws with their unit can go wrong which will contaminate the filtered water.
My wife purchased a Berkey Water filter. She wanted to use it in Jakarta, Indonesia where the water is contaminated with E. Coli and other substances. After watching it in use, I wouldn't risk my life with this system. I would rather have a system that is whole house in line with the plumbing. Too many things can go wrong with the Berkey Water system. First the system we have is the all metal system where you can't see into the chamber. At any given time, a leak can develop between the upper chamber and lower chamber through the filter washer or a leak can form through the hole plugs & washers that are used to stop water from passing through the unused holes when optional extra filters are not used. Am I to trust my life with this polluted third world country’s water with a system that a leak can start and I would never know. Do they think I am going to put a color dye into every fill up of water?
Upon installing the hole-plugs, I found that it had a nice fit and I was able to hand tighten the nut to the post of the plug. The diameter and threading of the plug was larger than the filter element's nut and post. I can make the hole-plugs nice and tight. On installing the filter elements however, when you try to hand tighten the nut, it eventually over tightens and then the nut slips and becomes loose again. You have to retighten the nut again hoping that it won't be too tight where it will slip and become loose and also hoping you don't under tighten the nut where water will leak through. Why couldn't they design the diameter of the shaft and nut of the filter element with the same larger threading as the hole-plugs so you can have a nice torque of the nut without it slipping.
Lets move on to the next poor design. The spigot. At first it didn't leak and then a few days later it leaked. Water seeps between the hole in the container and where the spigot passes through the side. They give you one flexible rubber washer, which is supposed to go on the inside, and one stiffer, rigid thin washer, which goes on the outside. Well the spigot has a flat surface which mates to the wall of the chamber, that has a curved surface. Guess what happens, a leak. Even if the washer can conform to the curved wall of the chamber, water still leaks through the threading of the nut. What kind of design is this? Water is obviously passing through the nut and threads to the outside of the container. Couldn't they have a permanent, welded on threaded port for the spigot, which you can seal with Teflon tape if you had to just like home plumbing? For the overpriced cost of this unit, it seems homemade, with little thought?
After watching real world use of the Berkey water filter by my mother in law, filling up the upper chamber, I noticed some of the contaminated water spills or drips on the outside of the upper chamber. This water eventually runs down the sides of the upper chamber and then through the airspace or gap where the upper chamber meets the lower chamber. This contaminated water then enters the lower chamber of the supposedly clean filtered water. This is another poor design. I know Berkey stated they need the air to seep out of the gap to let the gravity water feed in. Well it's too easy for contaminated water to enter the lower chamber. Nothing is safe about this design.
I should have saved my money on the Berkey water filter and bought a bottle of antibiotics instead. Now I need the later.

Gary said...

I'm with you. I think it is a little ridiculous that the state of California has banned berkey water filters! I'm glad Texas hasn't done the same.

Anonymous said...

If you happen to live close to Quartzsite, AZ there is a Berkey Booth set up!