Environment: Drinking water quality

United Kingdom
Drinking water quality

Political agreement has been reached by EU Environment Ministers on the amendment to the 1980 Drinking Water Directive. The main purpose of the revision is to update the Directive to take account of the latest scientific evidence on the health effects of water pollutants and to align EU standards with those set by the World Health Organisation.

Under the amended Directive, new standards will be introduced for a number of substances including chlorinated solvents, benzene, vinyl chloride, acrylamide and boron. The existing standards for lead and other metals and some polycyclic hydrocarbons have been tightened. It is estimated that the work required to bring drinking water into compliance with the new provisions may cost up to ECU 70bn (£48bn). Member States with extensive areas of lead piping will be particularly badly hit.