Report No FR0304

PROCEDURES IN FOUR EC COUNTRIES TO DEAL WITH
EXCEEDANCE OF DRINKING WATER STANDARDS

FR0304

June 1992

SUMMARY

I BENEFITS

II OBJECTIVES

To provide the Members of the FWR with a review of the actions taken in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France when the quality of drinking water exceeds the Maximum Admissible Concentrations (MACs) specified in EC legislation.

III REASONS

Any sample exceeding the MAC specified in the EC Drinking Water Directive for one or more determinands implies that, compared with the standards adopted, the water is of inferior quality. The actions which should be taken are not clearly specified, although they can reasonably be expected to vary depending on the parameter concerned and the extent to which the MAC is exceeded. The Resources, Treatment and Quality group of the Union of the Water Supply Associations from Countries of the European Communities (EUREAU I) has suggested that it would be advantageous to develop protocols for the actions to be taken in the event of exceedances. The existing arrangements in other EC Member States are therefore of interest in considering how such protocols might be drafted.

IV CONCLUSIONS

All countries reviewed have laid down procedures for dealing with exceedances of the MAC values in the EC Drinking Water Directive. However, none of the procedures is more detailed than that set out in the UK regulations. Exceedances are dealt with on a case-by-case approach involving consultation with the appropriate health authorities on actions to be taken. The turning off of the water supply is considered in all countries reviewed as the last resort.

V RECOMMENDATIONS

The conclusions of this report, together with those published earlier in FWR Report FR0208 (Progress in implementing the EC Drinking Water Directive in six Member States), should be taken into account in considering possible protocols for action in the event of exceedances of MAC values for drinking water quality.

VI RESUME OF CONTENTS

Regulations concerning the derogations which may be allowed, subject to safeguarding public health, when limit values are exceeded are provided for each of the countries reviewed. Information is given on the action to be taken when monitoring shows that quality limits have been exceeded.

Copies of the report are available from FWR, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR Members.