When products such as pipes or valves manufactured from inappropriate materials are in contact with drinking water, impurities can leach into the drinking water or the materials may encourage microbial growth. As a result, these materials may pose a significant risk to human health, may cause taste and odour (organoleptic) issues and may even affect the aquatic environment if their residues are not removed in wastewater treatment.
Article 10 of the Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC (DWD) states that all European Member States (MS) shall take measures for the protection of human health and the quality of drinking water. Many EU MS have their own approval systems for materials or products, but these have differences and can thus be discriminative, creating barriers to trade and increasing the certifications expenses of the industry.
The European Commission issued this service request in order to assess the problem of materials and products affecting the quality of drinking water, to collect information on appropriate materials, products and test methods as well as to support the preparation of a draft inception impact assessment and further actions.
The service request targeted three main technical tasks:
- Task 1: Assessment of the situation (problem of materials and products affecting the quality of drinking water)
- Task 2: Guidance for users on appropriate materials, products and test methods
- Task 3: Support to draft an Inception Impact Assessment with initial policy recommendations on potential regulation of material/product requirements and test procedures
The Office International de l'Eau participated to task 1 and 3 and lead task 2: develop a guidance for users of materials in contact with drinking water, including householders, and installers.
For task 2, OIEau defined with DG Environment and the consortium partners the expected output - expected target audience (householders, installers), main goal of the guidance, global shape (expected volume, vocabulary, content), etc. - and proposed a first draft of the table of content.
With the results of task 1, in which OIEau was also involved, a first version has been produced and shared with DG Environment and with a group of experts representing the Member State's competent authorities. After having received many inputs and suggestions for the improvement of the guide, OIEau was able to produce a second version. After acceptance of the content by DG Environment, OIEau finalized the guide's graphic design and produced the final version, in a format adapted for a possible edition and translation in the 28 MS languages.