EU Commission Establishes Drinking Water "Watch List"

New Monitoring Requirements Placed On Member States

10 Feb 2022 by The Water Diplomat

In mid-January, the European Commission established a new drinking water “watch list” in order to monitor more closely substances and compounds that are of concern if contained in water allocated for human consumption.

Of immediate interest is to prevent the spread of “endocrine-disrupting compounds”, particularly beta-estradiol and nonylphenol, which are now on the watch list.

All EU member states now have until January 2023 to, “place monitoring requirements throughout the drinking water supply chain, as well as take measures if guidance values are exceeded.”

The EC said that their first draft of the watch list will reduce potential health risks to life and support efforts to reduce toxins in the environment in line with the EU’s Zero Pollution Action Plan.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment at the EC said: ““There can be no compromise on the quality standards for our tap water.

“Today we are giving effect to new rules that not only prevent well-known pollutants but also give us tools to address emerging concerns.

“We start with two substances that are endocrine disruptors affecting our health, the environment and biodiversity.” 

The watch list is a requirement of the EU Drinking Water Directive (DWD) which came into effect in 2021. The directive aims to make safe tap water available to all EU countries and to reduce bottled water consumption by 17% before 2030.

The EC announcement in Jan 2022 said: “Over time, if new substances emerge that are likely to be present in drinking water and could pose a potential health risk - such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals or microplastics - the Commission will add them to the list.”