Many commercial grade liners contain plasticizers and dispersants that can leech harmful chemicals into drinking water. That’s why it’s important to use potable grade liners for organic farming, hydroponic farming, and water treatment operations.
The Harmful Effects of Non-Potable Grade Liners
The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) found in many of today’s commercial-grade tarps and liners can be extremely hazardous to human health. Containing hydrogen chloride and dioxin, PVC products can cause severe respiratory ailments, birth defects, and cancer when exposed to potable drinking water sources. Landfills, manure management systems, and irrigation reservoirs that are not lined properly can leach chemicals into the soil and water, causing harmful byproducts to enter the water supply.
For this reason, it’s important for many industries to use potable grade liners. Fish ponds, irrigation ponds, canals, aquaponics, hydroponics, and organic farming methods all come into close contact with the food we eat and the water we drink. To avoid contamination, NSF certified potable grade liners should be used.
Why You Should Look for NSF Certified Products
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is the governing body responsible for regulating food and water systems worldwide. Founded in 1944 and accredited by OSHA, the SCC, and ANSI, NSF provides third-party testing and certification services to ensure the safety of food, water, and consumer products. For those industries directly working with food, water, soil, or irrigation systems, using liners that are certified by the NSF ensures the safety of your products.
NSF/ANSI 61 is one of the most important NSF standards pertaining to the water treatment industry. It states that in order to regulate the safety of drinking water in North America, companies that manufacture, sell, or distribute water must comply with all of the criteria outlined in NSF/ANSI 61. They regulate products such as cement, paint, adhesives, pipes, and faucets that come into contact with the water supply - including geomembrane systems.
Though many companies claim to be NSF/ANSI 61 compliant, only a few lining systems are actually certified. Through a rigorous six-month testing process, the NSF conducts plant audits and toxicology labs designed to determine whether or not a particular product meets the requirements and can become NSF certified. BTL completed the process in 2015 and received potable grade certification for many of our BTL and PPL polyethylene products.
Potable grade is the highest rating liners can receive as it means the products can come into direct contact with food and drinking water.
Potable Grade Liners for a Variety of Industries
Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in water instead of soil. Often, as in the case of aquaponics, the tanks that are used to grow hydroponic plants house an assortment of aquatic animals such as snails and fish. This forms a symbiotic environment in which the waste secreted by the animals becomes nutrients for the plants. Hydroponic or aquaponic systems rely on potable grade material to line the tanks and growing apparatuses so as to avoid contamination and keep food safe from chemicals.
Similarly, organic farming methods employ the use of potable-grade liners to line greenhouses and growing beds. By ensuring that soil and plants are planted in an environment free certifiably from harmful chemicals such as plasticizers and dispersants, crops can continue to be certified organic.
Fishing ponds must also take the same measures if pond owners want to ensure the safety of their catch. Unlike PVC liners, RPE and RPP liners from BTL don’t release any plasticisers into the water which means fish can swim in water that is certified for drinking use. Better for you, and better for your fish.
Finally, water treatment facilities require the use of potable grade liners to keep water systems free from all potential contaminants. With several water treatment facilities still reeling from the after-effects of using old or outdated plastic materials as part of their treatment process—it is especially important that liners be safe and certified for drinking water use.
Many of our BTL products are NSF certified potable grade liners. Our high-strength RPE and RPP tarps, liners, and covers are fabricated at our facility in Prineville, Oregon and manufactured using North American products. Our liners are plant and fish safe and provide safe containment methods for your potable water sources—including for use in aquaponics, hydroponics, or organic growing methods. Contact us for more information about which of our products are NSF certified.