In the new EU Drinking Water Directive, uniform requirements are set for the first time for materials in contact with drinking water - see Article 11 "Minimum hygiene requirements for materials that come into contact with water intended for human consumption".
For uniform implementation, the specific minimum hygiene requirements for materials are regulated by implementing acts. Within three years, substances or materials as well as test and selection procedures for starting materials and compounds will be included in a "European positive list".
The Revision of the Drinking Water Directive
The European Commission announced a review of the Drinking Water Directive in March 2014 as a direct follow up to the Right2Water European Citizens' Initiative. After completing a so-called REFIT evaluation (see full report), which recognised that the art. 10 has led to the proliferation of different national certification systems leading to technical barriers to trade, unnecessary burden for the industry and increasing disparities between national standards on materials and articles in contact with drinking water, the Commission adopted a proposal for a revised drinking water directive to modernize the 20 year old DWD (98/83/EC).
FInally, the new EU Drinking Water Directive came into force on the 12th of January 2021.
Member State level
In addition to the national regulatory authorities, which implement the EU regulation in each Member State, voluntary initiatives between some Member States have developed to achieve a greater harmonisation of national requirements for products in contact with drinking water.
The 4MS Initiative
The initial four EU Member States (France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), the “4MS” announced in January 2011 that they have formalised arrangements to work together with the objective to reach a ‘Common Approach’.
In 2019, Denmark joined the alliance as 5th member, but the name remains "4MS".
The objective of the ‘Common Approach’ is to harmonise tests and testing requirements ensuring that products in contact with drinking water are suitable to maintain the hygienic safety of drinking water. The work on the ‘Common Approach’ is currently ongoing.
In 2017 EDW became the exclusive industry partner of the 4MS Initiative and is working in the 4 MS Task Group "Common Approach Minor and Assembled Products Testing" (TG CA MAPT).