The EU adopted a recast Directive (EU) 2020/2184 on drinking water in December 2020, and the document entered into force in January 2021. EU member states had until 12 January 2023 to transpose this document in national law and comply with its provisions. The 1998 Directive is repealed from 13 January 2023. As of currently, not all EU member states have updated their domestic law.
The new Drinking Water Directive is here.
Key features of the revised Directive are:
- reinforced water quality standards, in line or, in some cases, more stringent than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations
- tackling emerging pollutants, such as endocrine disruptors and PFAs, as well as microplastics
- a preventive approach favouring actions to reduce pollution at source by introducing the risk-based approach
- measures to ensure better access to water, particularly for vulnerable and marginalised groups
- measures to promote tap water, including in public spaces and restaurants, to reduce (plastic) bottle consumption
- harmonisation of the quality standards for materials and products in contact with water
- measures to reduce water leakages and to increase transparency of the sector
The EU also adopted the first watch list on 19 January 2022. This document is here. This means that drinking water across the EU will have to be monitored more closely for the potential presence of two endocrine disrupting compounds (beta-estradiol and nonylphenol) throughout the whole water supply chain. Endocrine disrupting compounds are a mixed group of chemicals of varying structure that can interfere with physiological and biochemical processes in the human body.
In justified circumstances, EU member states may provide for derogations. this means they will set a less stringent value than the parametric value set out in Part B of Annex I of the 2020 document, up to a maximum value to be determined by them. Such derogations should not constitute a potential danger to human health and the supply of water intended for human consumption in the area concerned cannot be maintained by any other reasonable means.
The Drinking Water Directive is not a document that is retained in Northern Ireland under the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.
The current Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC last amended in 2015, is replaced by a new Drinking Water Directive (EU) 2020/2184 in force 12th January 2021. Member states have two years to bring in national legislation. We will add this Directive to Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers &a Checklists shortly.
The new EU Drinking Water Directive is here.
Key features of the revised Directive are:
• Reinforced water quality standards which are more stringent than WHO recommendations.
• Tackling emerging pollutants, such as endocrine disruptors and PFA’s, as well as microplastics – for which harmonised analytical methods will be developed in 2021.
• A preventive approach favouring actions to reduce pollution at source by introducing the “risk based approach”. This is based on an in-depth analysis of the whole water cycle, from source to distribution.
• Measures to ensure better access to water, particularly for vulnerable and marginalised groups.
• Measures to promote tap water, including in public spaces and restaurants, to reduce (plastic) bottle consumption.
• Harmonisation of the quality standards for materials and products in contact with water, including a reinforcement of the limit values for lead. This will be regulated at EU level with the support of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
• Measures to reduce water leakages and to increase transparency of the sector.
Provisional agreement on revision of the EU Drinking Water Directive was reached on 19th December.
The proposal updates to the latest changes to WHO safety standards.
Further details are here.
UK – if the revised EU Directive is published before 31st December, which it is likely to be, then it will apply in the UK (but local law would have to be updated).
Settlement is announced today (fines) with the US Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs for violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act at the Keams Canyon Public Water Supply system.
Here is the USEPA press release.
The Keams Canyon public water supply system, located on the Hopi Reservation, is owned and operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and serves a population of approximately 2,000 people. The USEPA found the BIA exceeded drinking water standards for arsenic and failed to monitor for arsenic and disinfection compounds. The system is now fully compliant with these requirements.