Certification of materials and products used in drinking water applications is a requirement in many countries to prevent contamination of the drinking water supplies and protect the health of the consumer.
Within the EU, various Member States have their own certification schemes. Nonetheless, the different methods of testing and of the certification procedures, that have evolved in the various EU Member States over the years, do not generally allow a product or a material approved in one country to be used without going through a similar procedure in another. Mutual recognition is almost non-existent.
These test methodologies are complex, time consuming and very expensive for each relevant product supplied by a manufacturer – and in many cases the certification process is confusing and frustratingly slow. This obstruction prevents many SMEs from making their products available widely across the EU market which reduces choice and increases cost to the water suppliers, contractors and, ultimately, the consumer.
The way to a national certification
European drinking water directive
“...,Member states shall ensure that materials that are intended to be used in new installations or, in the case of repair works or reconstruction, in existing installations for the abstraction, treatment, storage or distribution of water intended for human consumption and that come into contact with such water do not: … directly or indirectly compromise the protection of human health...”
Different national laws
“The transitition of the EU drinking water directive into national law is executed differently in every member state (e. g. as ordinance, decree, regulation…) with similar but yet different requirements for the responsible national regulatory authorities.”
Different assessment criteria
“The similar but yet diverse legal basis in each member state and the different principles of the responsible national authorities for implementation of the laws, lead to different national assessment criteria in each member state.”
Different test specifications
"The diversity of national assessment criteria in each Member State results in different test specifications for the national certification body. Although there may be some similarities, products must still be subjected to the test by the certification body in the Member State for which the product is to be used."
Multiple product approval procedures
"Where a manufacturer wishes to supply a product already approved in one Member State into another, the product has to be tested and certified again in accordance with the requirements of that Member State."
National certification schemes
Several certification bodies certify products and materials which come into contact with drinking water based on required performance and quality assurance tests.