Over the last two decades, as well as within the ongoing process of the evaluation of the Drinking Water Directive (98/83 EC) article 10, quality assurance of treatment equipment and materials has been a major concern and remains an unsolved legislative issue. Article 10 does require Members States to ensure the hygienic safety of materials and products in contact with drinking water and thus it is of very high relevance for consumers health protection. But its implementation on a supra-national level (all Members States) does also require common agreements on market aspects for the free trading of drinking water products within the EU. A real functioning legislative framework covering both requirements for a high standard of consumer health protection, and free movement of goods, does not exist so far.
Against the above background a group of European associations, representing drinking water suppliers, drinking water construction materials suppliers and drinking water product manufacturers in Europe, initiated a first conference in May 2015 to discuss potential solutions with national as well as EC regulators.
It transpired that the need to find a common way forward is of very high priority for both authorities as well as market participants and it was agreed to have a more intense exchange between the stakeholders.
Since that conference in May 2015, two such stakeholder roundtables took place, resulting in an increasing understanding of each other ́s requirements and views. In addition, a series of activities from both sides were initiated, aiming at more clearly defining problems and gaps. These clear definitions are essential to have ammunition for regulatory action at EC level.
There is no doubt that a solution could not be achieved within a limited time of one year, but the progress made so far can give hints to potential common ways forward.
This year’s conference is aiming at presenting the new study launched by DG Environment on materials and products in contact with drinking water, the state of play of the 4 (5) MS Initiative as well as the industry initiatives.