3rd European Symposium on Materials and Products in Contact with Drinking Water

An approach that ensures that materials and products supplied on the European market are not only technically "appropriate" but also ensure hygienic safety for the health of consumers throughout the life of products and materials was discussed during the third symposium held in Brussels on 18 May 2017.

The European Commission presented their roadmap for the revision of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) during this conference, which was organized by the European associations EurEau, European Copper Institute, PlasticsEurope and European Drinking Water (EDW). 

This year's symposium highlighted the major developments, initiatives and activities related to Article 10 of the Drinking Water Directive within the remit of DG Environment and DG Growth and provided an opportunity to discuss the issues for industry experts and national and European regulatory authorities.

The European Commission was represented by Pilar de la Bárcena (DG Growth), Catherine Simoneau (JRC Ispra), Tobias Biermann (DG Environment), who highlighted the fact of having too many test standards available as well as the absence of a pass/fail criteria (acceptance levels). Tapani Mikkeli (DG Growth) discussed the adequacy of CPR for regulating materials in contact with DW. He stressed that the CPR is what is in place and the right tool to use.

Ms de la Bàrcena placed specific emphasis on the need of raising awareness among the industry of the existence of the article 34 and 36 of the TFEU, recognizing the principle of Mutual Recognition. She reminded the audience that there will be a revision of the Mutual Recognition Regulation by the end of 2017 and invited the industry to submit feedbacks on how to make the Mutual Recognition Regulation more effective.

Philipp Hohenblum (Austrian Environment Agency) presented the outcomes of the study on materials and products in contact with drinking water, released in March 2017. The lack of EU-wide list of appropriate materials or substances available which are approved by any MS was highlighted as a key issue. C. Engelsen (Sintef) talked about the current state of the MAID project and showed an overview of standards, requirements and existing limits for the different materials in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. 

The German Federal Ministry of Health represented by Birgit Mendel, presented the 4-MS initiative which strongly recommended the revision of article 10, however keeping the precautionary principle. According to Ms. Mendel, the revision of art. 10 should lead to the development of positive lists of substances allowed in materials and products in contact with drinking water. This should be done either through a new regulation or through a delegated act linked to the Drinking Water Directive. According to Ms Mendel, harmonization should not occur primarily through the Construction Products Regulation.

Volker Meyer, chairman of EDW, presented an approach for the new CEN mandate, focusing on the example of “assembled products”. He placed particular emphasis on the fact that the CPR only covers 75% of the materials in contact with drinking water in a building installation. Due to that situation, the revised art. 10 of the DWD should be linked, but not limited, to the Construction Products Regulation. 

The dialogue with all the different stakeholders is in progress and EDW will continue its efforts to support all involved DG`s of the European Commission to find a solution. 

The next symposium will take place in Brussels in May 2018.

All presentations can be found here.