: Organisations


See the tabs for MWS, NFGWS, NSF and WQA

MWS - Master Water Specialist

Galway Water follow Water Quality Association ethics in all areas of the service we deliver.  (WQA is the international not-for-profit trade association for the water treatment industry). The Water Quality Association is  dedicated to promoting the highest principles of honesty, integrity, fair dealing and professionalism in the water quality industry.

Galway Water has taken 8 of the rigorous 3 hour WQA exams between 2008 and 2010 in the U.S. to gain WQA Master Water Specialist - VI and the WQA Certified Installer level also the WQA Certified Water Representative level - the first company in Europe to achieve all WQA top level certifications. See WQA.org (Find A Water Professional)

"When treatment professionals are WQA "Certified", it means three things - they have knowledge to effectively diagnose and solve water quality problems; they will treat their customer's concerns with honesty, integrity and credibility; and they agree to take ongoing professional education courses to stay current with water technology and to maintain their certifications. If WQA certified professionals are willing to make that kind of investment to earn the trust of their customers, their customers will be more likely to make an investment in them."

Lower levels of Certified Water Spoecialists, wanting to gain WQA Master Professional status, would be required to take higher WQA CWS examinations to become qualified to WQA MWS level ...

WQA Professional Certification Program

The WQA Professional Certification program helps consumers and employers identify individuals in the point-of-use/point-of-entry water quality improvement industry who have demonstrated a certified level of professional expertise and are dedicated to high professional standards.

WQA certification is a voluntary credentialing process.

To achieve any WQA-certified title, the candidate must pass a comprehensive exam and accept the WQA Code of Ethics for the Water Quality Improvement Industry.

Benefits of Certification to the Water Treatment Professional:

Consumer confidence
Certification patches and pins instantly identify certified personnel to consumers
Credibility from a third-party organization
More business opportunities
Greater employment opportunities
Listing on the WQA web site

Levels of WQA Certification:

Certified Water Specialist (CWS)
For individuals involved in sales, installation, and/or manufacturing of water treatment products, or who manage a water treatment business.

Four levels, CWS-I through CWS-IV

Master Water Specialist (MWS)
For individuals involved in sales, installation, and/or manufacturing of water treatment products, or who manage a water treatment business.

Four levels, CWS-I through CWS-IV plus two levels CWS-V and CWS-VI

Certified Installer (CI)
For individuals responsible for planning, installing, and/or servicing water quality improvement products.

Certified Water Representative (CWR)
For individuals responsible for sale of water quality improvement products.

To achieve any WQA-certified title (MWS, CI, CWR), a person must pass a lengthy exam and agree to abide by the WQA Code of Ethics for the Water Quality Improvement Industry.

Who can become WQA-certified?

WQA's program tests and certifies only individuals, not dealerships or companies. WQA membership is not required for certification.

How do I prepare for a WQA certification exam?

Most people prepare for exams through home study. See WQA.org for a list of suggested study materials for the exams.

Where can I take a WQA certification exam?

Go to the Upcoming Exams page for more information, including exam pricing and guidelines.

How long is my certification valid?

All certifications are valid for 3 years. Certified personnel must recertify by obtaining continuing education credits. The process and policies are explained in detail in the Recertification area.




NFGWS - National Federation of Group Water Schemes

Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of Consumers on Group Water Supplies.

Potable water is a limited resource, which requires considerable public and private resources to exploit and make available. Thus, whilst we have right of access as citizens to its frugal use, we equally have responsibilities as to its protection.

1. Services in a Modern Society

In order to reside in a modern society, a number of services are considered essential. Amongst these are water supply, waste-water management, refuse collection, electricity and others. This charter encompasses civil and consumer rights in relation to the supply of water and relies on the principles of shared ownership of and responsibility for conservation of a scarce resource.
These are not absolute rights but should be seen more in terms of services best provided on a communal basis where population and housing density make this economically viable and environmentally desirable. In effect citizens/consumers should be entitled to avail of/buy into these services in most situations with some exceptions. (Appendix 1.)

2. Communal Water Rights and Responsibilities

Key factors include:-
2.1) Quality, Safety and Wholesomeness 2.2) Cost 2.3) Right of Supply 2.4) Supply Quantity and Pressure 2.5) Source Protection 2.6) Right to Information 2.7) Complaints Procedure

2.1) Quality, Safety and Wholesomeness :

2.1.1 Quality - Quality standards were set for potable water in the Drinking Water Directive (80/778/EEC). This was enforced in Ireland in the 1988 Drinking Water Regulations (S.I. No. 81 of 1988 - Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption) and their amendment (S.I. No. 177 of 2000). This Directive has now been superseded by Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998. This new Directive has been transposed into Irish legislation by the EC (Drinking Water) Regulations 2000 (S.I. No. 439 of 2000). These Regulations came into operation on 1 January 2004. Quality standards can be divided into those affecting human health and those affecting only the aesthetic characteristics of the water.

2.1.2 Human Health - Suppliers must take all reasonable steps to ensure that relevant standards are adhered to at all times. Such steps might include protection of source, treatment, disinfection, distribution maintenance, regular monitoring and testing.

The most commonly occurring exceedences of relevance to public health relate to coliform organisms and nitrates.

Coliforms - The total absence of coliforms in drinking water must be the objective at all times. Where contamination of the drinking water is indicated by the presence of coliforms, the supplier must take the following action as appropriate : Where an alternative satisfactory supply is available, this should be used, if necessary by tankering in supplies of potable water for drinking and cooking purposes. Where the contaminated supply is the only option available, all consumers must be notified and informed of the need to boil water prior to human consumption. Action must be taken to remedy the problem and to monitor the supply until the problem is solved.

Nitrates - Where nitrates are shown to exceed 50 mg/l : Consumers should be notified as to the possible health risks to children and of the need to provide them with an alternative source (e.g. approved bottled water). Action should be taken to reduce levels of nitrates below 25mg/l by, for example, source protection, blending with another supply or seeking an alternative supply.

Other Contaminants - Apart from coliforms and nitrates, it is important that suppliers make themselves aware of the other microbiological and chemical contaminants listed in the Drinking Water Regulations which may be injurious to health and that they take appropriate preventative or remedial action in respect of same.

2.1.3 Aesthetic Wholesomeness - Drinking water should normally be inoffensive in relation to visual characteristics, taste and odour. Water not meeting these criteria on a regular basis should not be considered satisfactory and remedial action should be planned and implemented.

2.2 Cost :

2.2.1 Connection cost - In the case of a public supply, the cost of connection is determined by the local authority. In the case of a part-private or private group scheme supply, the cost is decided by the relevant group scheme. In most situations this is a standard charge amended from time to time. An exceptional additional charge may be requested in special circumstances. It must be noted that a consumer applying for connection to a group scheme is also applying for membership of that private organisation. Membership of any private organisation confers its own rights and responsibilities.

2.2.2 Operating cost - The supply of drinking water involves considerable cost, in production and supply distribution. For this there are generally two sources of funding: public subsidy and non-domestic charges. Other local arrangements can also apply. Operational charges may be either a set fee or may be based on metered usage or a combination of the two. For public supply and delivery, the charge is set by the local authority. On group schemes, the private organisation operating the scheme sets its own charges.

2.3 Right of Supply :

The rights of existing members of a group scheme not to be disconnected must be guaranteed, save only where a serious and continued breach of the scheme's own rules is occurring. Every residence within the area of supply of a communal piped distribution system is normally entitled to a supply. There may be exceptional circumstances where the supply has to be refused. The basis for such refusal must be clearly stated.

2.4 Supply Quantity and Pressure :

2.4.1 Quantity - The quantity supplied must be an amount sufficient for reasonable family living e.g. 225m3 (50,000 gls) per year as has previously been suggested. The supply should be available continuously in normal circumstances. (Appendix 2a: Notification of interruption of supply *Appendix 2b: Notification of faults).

22.4.2 Pressure - In normal circumstances sufficient pressure should be available to fill attic storage in a two-storey house in a reasonable time while operating normal domestic appliances. A minimum pressure of 15 metres (22 p.s.i.) is recommended at the stopcock (i.e. connection to the mains) (Appendix 3).

2.5 Source Protection :

It is the responsibility of suppliers of drinking water to protect drinking water sources and to take necessary preventative and/or remedial action as appropriate. The public generally and, in particular, consumers of a local supply, should be aware of the risks of contamination and should act to protect drinking water sources. Spring and groundwater sources of communal water may be included in the Aquifer Protection Plan of each county. This plan, its aims, objectives and recommendations should be taken into account in the Strategic Rural Water Plan in each local authority area. Bye-laws can be an effective tool in protecting drinking water sources.

2.6 Right to Information :

Consumers of water have a special interest in the service and product provided. Drinking water differs radically from other utilities, such as electricity, telephone etc., as drinking water is a food product. Consumers are entitled to specific reassurances and availability of all pertinent information on, for example:
2.61) Treatment processes and additives.
2.62) Maintenance and monitoring regimes.
2.63) Proposed disruptions to supply due to maintenance, etc.
2.64) Quality assurance scheme.

2.7 Complaints Procedure :

The consumers and suppliers of water share certain responsibilities in relation to the conservation and protection of the supply, be it supplied from a local authority or group scheme.
Step 1: The first line of communication is certainly between the consumer and the supplier. Consumers who feel they have a grievance should have the following rights:
a) To put their complaint in writing to the management committee of the scheme. b) To a prompt acknowledgement of their complaint. c) To expect a response in a reasonable time, e.g. 15 working days. d) To be treated with courtesy and respect at all times.
Step 2: If the issue is not resolved to the consumer• satisfaction, the following procedure can be followed:
e) Consumers may put their complaint in writing to the County Rural Water Monitoring Committee. f) If still unresolved, the matter should be raised and dealt with at the next meeting of this committee. g) The committee can ask the complainant to attend if is felt appropriate. h) The suppliers shall have the right to state their case to the committee. i) The committee might invite both the complainant and the supplier to attend a hearing, if considered appropriate. j) Both parties should undertake to accept the decision and recommendation of the committee.
Disclaimer : The Rural Water Monitoring Committee and the National Federation of Group Water Schemes and all persons otherwise associated with the content of this document accept no liability for compliance or otherwise therewith and do not warrant the efficacy of the recommendations contained in paragraph 2.1.2. It remains the direct responsibility of the supplier to ensure that the supply is at all times safe for human consumption.

Appendix 1 Right to Supply (Exceptions)

Excessive cost: In some cases individual houses or small groups of houses removed from a communal source may be obliged to develop their own individual supply or come together to form a new small communal supply, the second being the preferred option. The County Strategic Rural Water Plans will, in any event, point to the optimum solution in such cases.
Location: Local authorities generally seek confirmation of the availability of a potable water supply prior to the granting of planning permission for dwellings. In a communal situation, the citizen must establish whether the local authority or the nearest group scheme is in a position to provide an adequate supply. If they are not, the onus is on the citizen to provide his/her own supply.
Shortage: Where a private group scheme experiences a shortage of supply and where solving the problems would involve excessive cost, they may choose to refuse to allow any further connections. Such refusal should be supported by adequate documentation, where possible in a report by the scheme or Consulting Engineer.
New Houses: New houses built adjacent to existing group schemes are sometimes built on very elevated sites or some distance from the group scheme main. The main may have sufficient quantities of water available, but may have insufficient pressure to serve the dwelling. Individual boosters provided by the applicant, rather than increasing pressure on the scheme, would be appropriate in most such cases. These individual boosters should be the full responsibility of the applicant concerned. If the applicant is not agreeable to above, the application may be denied.

Appendix 2 Notification of interruption of supply or of fault

2a Interruption of Supply: Except in an emergency, the consumer has the right to be notified in advance, at least 24hrs, of any abnormality that may occur in regard to any of the following: a) Interruption of supply due to repairs and maintenance or upgrade. b) Interruption of supply due to new connections. c) Reduction in pressure. d) intermittent supply.
2b Faults: The consumer has a responsibility for and is required to notify the supplier, as soon as practicable, of any leaks, water loss, etc., to ensure minimum wastage.

Appendix 3 Supply Pressure

Pressure Variation: Pressure on some communal lines may vary, especially if pumped directly. Some appliances, e.g. electric showers, may need to be of a particular specification suited to these situations. Members should be made aware of this.

Booster pumps: These may be used to boost pressure and supply to higher locations on a communal piped supply. High pressure: Where appropriate, the group scheme should be prepared to install pressure reducing valves.

** Ideal mid range pressure is 3 bar 44 psi - (22 psi - too low / 44 psi - ideal / 66 psi - high)

NSFNSF - National Sanitation Foundation

The NSF Mark can be found on millions of consumer, commercial, and industrial products today. Products evaluated and certified by NSF International include bottled water, food equipment, home water treatment products, home appliances, plumbing and faucets, and even pool and spa components.

The next time you are shopping for a food or water-related product that may potentially affect the health of you or your family, look to see if the NSF Mark is on the product. This Mark is your assurance that the product has been tested by one of the most respected independent certification companies in existence today, NSF International.

The NSF Water Treatment Device Certification Program requires extensive product testing and unannounced audits of production facilities. The goal of this program is to provide assurance to consumers that the water treatment devices they are purchasing meet the design, material, and performance requirements of national standards.

  • Selecting and Using Water Treatment Devices
  • Drinking Water Treatment Technologies
  • Styles of Water Treatment
  • The Importance of Certification
  • Drinking Water Treatment and Homeland Security
  • Additional Information
  • Search for NSF-Certified Products
  • Selecting and Using Water Treatment Devices

Many consumers have difficulty determining whether they actually need a water treatment system or they are not sure what type of system would be best for them. The choice regarding whether or not to install and use a water treatment system is up to you. If you have identified a specific contaminant whose presence in your water is causing you concern, you can use the drinking water treatment units online product database to try to locate products that have been certified to reduce that specific contaminant.

Consumers are encouraged to educate themselves about the quality of their current drinking water supply. By attempting to identify the contaminants that are present in your water supply, you can then ensure that you are selecting a water treatment system that will be capable of treating those specific contaminants.

It is important to keep in mind that all home water treatment devices need regular maintenance to operate effectively. Please read the operating manual that comes with your water treatment system to ensure you are operating your system in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Filter cartridges should be changed on a regular basis as recommended by the manufacturer.

Drinking Water Treatment Technologies

The products on the market today utilize many different technologies. NSF currently evaluates residential water treatment products that utilize one of the technologies listed below. The applicable NSF/ANSI standard that applies to each technology is shown in parentheses.


Technology Description of Product Technology
Filtration (NSF/ANSI 42 & 53) This is the physical process that occurs when liquids, gases, dissolved or suspended matter adhere to the surface of, or in the pores of, an adsorbent medium. Carbon filters use this technology to filter water.
Softeners (NSF/ANSI 44) Water softening devices covered by Standard 44 use a cation exchange resin, regenerated with sodium chloride or potassium chloride, to reduce the amount of hardness (calcium, magnesium) in the water. The hardness ions in the water are replaced with sodium or potassium ions.
UV (NSF/ANSI 55) This treatment style uses ultraviolet light to disinfect water (Class A systems) or to reduce the amount of heterotrophic bacteria present in the water (Class B systems).
Reverse Osmosis (NSF/ANSI 58) A process that reverses, by the application of pressure, the flow of water in a natural process of osmosis so that water passes from a more concentrated solution to a more dilute solution through a semi-permeable membrane. Most reverse osmosis systems incorporate pre- and post-filters along with the membrane itself.
Distillers (NSF/ANSI 62) These systems heat water to the boiling point and then collect the water vapor as it condenses, leaving many of the contaminants behind, particularly the heavy metals. Some contaminants that convert readily into gases, such as volatile organic chemicals, may be carried over with the water vapor.

Styles of Water Treatment Devices

There are several styles of water treatment devices available on the market today. The most common styles are listed below, along with a brief description of each.

Point-of-Entry (POE) System

These systems typically treat most of the water entering a residence. Point-of-entry systems, or whole-house systems, are usually installed after the water meter. (Water meters are usually located in the basement of a house. In warm weather climates, the water meter may be in the garage or outside of the house.) A water softener is an example of a POE system.

Point-of-Use (POU) System

These systems typically treat water in batches and deliver water to a single tap, such as a kitchen sink faucet or an auxiliary faucet mounted next to the kitchen sink. The following information contains a brief explanation of different POU systems and points to consider when determining which style of a system will best suit your needs. The list is ordered from easiest installation/operation to more difficult or complex installation/operation and should not be construed as any type of recommendation

WQAWQA - Water Quality Association

The Water Quality Association (WQA) is a not-for-profit internationaltrade association representing the residential, commercial, industrial,and small community water treatment industry.
The WQA maintains a closedialogue with other organizations representing different aspects of thewater industry in order to best serve consumers, government officials,and industry members.
WQA is a resource and information source, avoice for the industry, an educator for professionals, a laboratory forproduct testing, and a communicator to the public.


The Water Quality Association is dedicated to promoting the highest principles of honesty, integrity, fair dealing, and professionalism in the water quality improvement industry. It is equally dedicated to preserving the consuming public's right to quality water. This Code of Ethics sets standards of conduct for industry members in their dealings with their customers, among themselves, with members of related industries, and the public at large.


  • Conduct themselves as informed, law abiding citizens dedicated to ethical business practices.
  • Be informed of and adhere to all laws, statute, ordinances, codes and regulations applicable to the industry including those dealing with restraint of trade, consumer protection, truth in advertising, truth in lending, intellectual property protection, selling, registration, sanitation, and effluent disposal.
  • Build their business on the merits of their products, services, and abilities.
  • Accurately represent credentials, training, experience, and abilities of all employees and agents.
  • Serve their customers competently and honestly.
  • Ensure that their products or services are properly applied or installed when they are responsible for such application or installation.
  • Respond in a timely manner to customer complaints.
  • Provide for the availability of timely and competent installation and service for their products.
  • Inform customers of the general maintenance, service requirements, and related costs.
  • Pursue the advancement of knowledge and skills utilized in the water quality improvement industry.
  • Adhere to and promote the Code of Ethics.

Recent News

  • Jan 05 2013

    Meter Water Softeners

    Jan 5, 2013

    All water softeners & water softener valves sold by Galway Water since 2005 have been Clack WS1CI commercial quality metered water softeners.

  • Dec 13 2012

    Small Water Softeners

    Dec 13, 2012

    Because the water softener market in Galway and Ireland is competitive, the decision to buy a small or undersized timer water softener because of budget or space restrictions, all too often means that customers end up paying a high price, because these water softeners are over priced, they are high cost to run with excessive salt use / water use / extra servicing and then finally they fail prematurely. A bit like trying to use a moped scooter to tow a caravan.

  • Dec 11 2012

    Avoiding Sales Tricks

    Dec 11, 2012

    During the Celtic Tiger years, many water treatment firms used pressure selling techniques and questionable methods to test water, unfortunately money was easily parted with in times of abundant work and accelerating house prices.


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