50th Anniversary


Celebrating 50 years of advancing water quality around the world

We salute the WQA members who have gone before us, providing innovative water treatment solutions through final barrier technologies. Together, they set the stage for another 50 years – and many more – of innovations in the growing water treatment industry.


1974: The Water Quality Association is established with the merger of the Water Conditioning Association International and the Water Conditioning Foundation, creating a single industry voice to address rapidly growing industry challenges and opportunities. Included in that merger is the Water Quality Research Council, established in 1952 and now known as the Water Quality Research Foundation.

1977: WQA’s Professional Certification Program is developed, helping to train water treatment professionals in the science and technology of water treatment.


1982: WQA moves into a headquarters facility it built in Lisle, IL, signifying to the industry, regulators and lawmakers that WQA was fully invested in the future of the water treatment industry.

1985: The EPA recognizes point-of-use water (POU) treatment equipment as an alternative technology to central treatment when EPA proposed the Recommended Maximum Contaminant Level (health goal) for fluoride.

1988: WQA develops a voluntary industry code of ethics

A liaison group is formed between American Water Works Association (AWWA) and WQA to work out differences and respect the role of each industry in providing quality water at the tap.


1993: WQA convinces the EPA and AWWA to remove from their publications assertions that ion exchange softened water contributes to “lead leaching” in drinking water.

MID 1990s: WQA begins testing and certifying products to NSF Standards.

WQA establishes a presence on the internet with its own website: www.wqa.org


2000: The WQA website’s new “Find a Professional” feature allows consumers to locate member manufacturers and dealers in their geographic area.

2003: WQA’s Gold Seal Product Certification receives long-sought-after ANSI and SCC accreditation.

2009-2010: WQRF conducts its largest study to date: Softened Water Benefits Study


2013: The WQA Sustainability Certification Program and WQA Sustainability Certification Trademark are created.

WQA produces a consumer booklet: Water Treatment for Dummies

2016: WQA and member companies respond to Flint, MI, lead crisis, providing filters for homeowners and emphasizing the importance of point-of-use (POU) and point-of-entry (POE) technologies to deal with lead in drinking water.

2017: WQA launches a Political Action Committee (WQA-PAC) to strengthen its advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C.

2018: WQA produces its first Business Boot Camp, teaching water treatment dealers valuable skills for running and growing their business.

2019: WQA helps coordinate efforts to address the public health risk counterfeit filters represent through the Combating Counterfeits Coalition.


2020: WQA leads effort to have the water treatment industry members deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WQA converts the WQA Convention & Exposition (and later Mid-Year Leadership Conference) to virtual events temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

WQA launches a consumer website, BetterWaterToday.org, to help consumers understand how water treatment can play an important role in improving the quality of their drinking water.

2021: WQA moves into a new International headquarters and laboratory in Lisle IL. The move greatly expands office space and triples the size of its lab, accelerating growth in the Gold Seal Product Certification program.

2022: WQA’s Clean Water for All initiative is introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House as the Healthy H20 Act, designed to help rural and disadvantaged communities pay for point-of-use and point-of-entry water treatment products.

WQA launches first ever instructor-led training via Zoom for Professional Certification

2023: WQRF and WQA host the first Scientific Symposium – on PFAS – one day before the start of the 2023 WQA Convention & Exposition.