On October 23, 2020, the European Council announced that it has formally adopted its position supporting a set of revisions to the EU Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC). Having already been amended multiple times, the directive has been undergoing a recast to improve its clarity. The changes notably include the creation of a set of “specific minimum hygiene requirements for materials” (such as piping) that come into contact with water, which will include “positive lists of starting substances, compositions and constituents” used for the creation of such materials. These contact materials should also be taken into account during relevant risk assessments. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced in January 2020 that it is planning to develop this positive list (FPF reported).

The Council’s position will now be sent to the European Parliament for approval before entering into force 20 days later. The Parliament is expected to approve the position without any further amendments. This lays the framework for the approach, but additional secondary legislation will still be required to define many of the details such as testing and data requirements. The positive list developed by ECHA is expected to be finalized and adopted by 2024.


European Council (October 23, 2020). “Safe and clean drinking water: Council adopts strict minimum quality standards.”

European Council (October 23, 2020). “Position of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast).” (pdf)