London software testing news UK

Testing goes down the pan

Posted in General by testing in London on April 24, 2007

This is not the first time this blog has the combination of testing and toilets. (Who can forget Testing database interaction (on the toilet) or Did she say road-testing or load testing? ?). It probably won’t be last time either. So here goes with an article from Contractor mag:

NSF International in mid-March announced its participation in a new certification program designed to verify the performance of high-efficiency toilets, which can save up to 900 billion gal. of water each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The effort is a key part of EPA’s new WaterSense program, which recently approved NSF’s participation in the program as an independent, product-certification organization.

Other EPA-certified testing organizations include Canadian Standards Association International, International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials Research & Testing, independent laboratory Intertek and Underwriters Laboratories USA.

The EPA launched the WaterSense program to focus on high-efficiency products and services designed to conserve water. The voluntary labelling program is available to all companies that partner with EPA and manufacture, sell or distribute household plumbing fixtures.

The testing programme is applicable to these toilets: single-flush, tank-type gravity; dual-flush, tank-type gravity; dual-flush, tank-type flushometer tank (pressure-assist); tank-type, flushometer tank (pressure-assist); and tank-type electrohydraulic as well as any other technologies that meet the performance specifications.

The testing programme is based on the the MaP test pioneered by Ontario, Canada-based Veritec Consulting. The test, Maximum Performance Testing of Popular Toilet Models, uses 50-gram, 4-in. long pieces of extruded bean curd encased in latex. Toilets are loaded in 50-gram increments until they fail to flush the load, and the top performers can flush a kilogram.

The EPA testing and certification programme has modified the testing regime slightly. Effective flush volume will not exceed 1.28 gal. (4.8 liters). Solid waste removal must be 350 grams or greater. The Veritec testing states that 250 grams is the baseline requirement. The EPA test uses the same type of 50 gram, 4-in.-long bean curd cylinder, but it’s not encased in latex.

Toilet model performance is identified as either a pass or fail depending upon whether it can successfully clear all test media from the fixture in a single flush in at least four of five attempts. Only toilet models that pass will qualify for the EPA WaterSense label.

Test media consists of seven test specimens, 50 ± 4 grams each, consisting of soybean paste forming a “sausage” 4 ± 0.5-in. in length and 1 ± 0.25-in. in diameter and four loosely crumbled balls of single-ply toilet paper as defined in the test protocol.

The test protocol also tries to determine if the toilets will continue to save water years down the road. For example, one aspect of the test is designed to determine whether the fill valve shuts off at a consistent water level in a toilet tank independent of any change in inlet water supply pressure.

In addition, the test addresses off-the-shelf replacement flappers that home owners buy at home centres or hardware stores. The tank trim adjust-ability and after-market seal test is meant to determine the upper limit to the volume of water that may be discharged when an off-the-shelf replacement flush valve seal/ flapper is installed on the toilet. In the case of a standard configuration 2-in. flush valve, a Fluidmaster Bullseye Super flapper or a Coast Foundry Ultra Blue flapper will be used.

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