Public health, through water safety, is the primary concern of the water industry, which invests millions each year to ensure UK water quality remains high. There is concern, however, that plans by the European Commission could impose an undue and unnecessary extra burden on water companies to reduce certain elements within water supplies.
There is currently little evidence that the further 15 elements under consideration as additions to the list of 33 ‘priority substances’ in current legislation are harmful either to the environment or to public health.
However, the potentially huge costs in monitoring and removing some of these substances could raise water bills for customers, as well as significantly increasing companies’ carbon footprints.
Water UK continues to work with its European partners to put forward the merits of ‘at source’ removal, such as in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, as against ‘end of pipe’ removal by water companies, which is both more difficult and more expensive.