COMITÉ EUROPÉEN DE NORMALISATION
EUROPÄISHCHES KOMITEE FÜR NORMUNG
European Water Treatment:
Harmony or Discord?
By Tony Frost
Emergence of product standards for drinking water treatment
equipment in Europe promises a new dimension to the prospects of the industry.
Hitherto, attitudes from some European water supply companies and regulators
on the practice of enhancing water quality by in-home treatment, have
been discouraging to say the least-and sometimes positively hostile. The
very existence of internationally approved test standards imparts indisputable
integrity for compliant products. The standards drafting process itself,
however, poses enormous hurdles threatening that opportunity.
Harmonization of product standards is complex and often emotive. Dissimilar
practices between European countries are highlighted in the drafting process,
creating conflict that occasionally extends to attempted domination by
aggression. Some member states have standards in place-in some countries,
they're a legal requirement. Awareness of the fact that the EN (European
"norme" or standard) must be adopted by each member state, and
replace any relevant national standard, creates apprehension because manufacturers
will have built their products around their respective national standard
or national custom and practice. The role of the drafting group is to
produce a standard by consensus that satisfies everyone. This can be a
daunting prospect given the wide diversity between national practices
and the individual commercial interests of delegates.
The process started about 10 years ago when
TC164/WG2 began a document entitled: "Specification for installations
inside buildings conveying water for human consumption." (These acronyms
stand for subcommittees of the Comité Européen de Normalisation,
or CEN, which oversees standards harmonization between its members"TC"
represents Technical Committee and "WG" stands for Working Group.)
Among other things, this document identified a range of water treatment
equipment that then resulted in the birth of WG13 charged with the development
of product standards for that equipment. Separate drafting groups (customarily
referred to as ad hoc groups) were set up to start work on the first five
equipment categories approved by TC164 for drafting activity.
AcronymoniaDeciphering all the letters
Européen de Normalisation, or CEN, is the body based in
Brussels that's responsible for management and development of
European standards. Members of CEN are the national standards
bodies of the European Union (EU), European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) and the Czech Republic.
When a CEN standard
is approved, all the CEN members are bound to adopt the standard
and withdraw any relevant existing national standard. In general,
standards aren't mandatory in that a manufacturer or supplier
isn't bound to comply with them. This is true of CEN standards.
Of course, a manufacturer may be technically or commercially disadvantaged
if his products don't comply. However, in some member countries,
standards are mandatory or it's customary that the national standard
is applied where one exists.
Work on CEN standards
is controlled by "Technical Committees" (TCs). "Water
Supply" is managed by TC164 which in turn is divided into
"Work Groups" (WGs). WG13 is responsible for "drinking
water treatment inside buildings." There are 13 product standards
approved for drafting activity by WG13. They are:
Filters Part 180-to-150 microns
2. Mechanical Filters Part 21-to-80 microns
3. Electrolytic Dosingaluminium anodic corrosion
4. Chemical Dosing Part 1preset dosing rates
5. Chemical Dosing Part 2adjustable dosing rates
6. Ion exchange Water Softeners
7. Reverse Osmosis and Membrane Filters
8. Ultraviolet Disinfection
9. Nitrate Reductionion exchange
10. Activated Carbon Filters
11. Composite Filters
12. Rehardening Equipment
13. Maintenancea general standard to cover all of
In addition a request
to re-introduce Physical Conditioners into the programme
is being considered.
The standard that has reached the most advanced
stage is that of Mechanical Filters Part 1, which deals with particle
filters having a rating between 80 and 150 microns. Use of this type of
device is almost entirely restricted to Germany and Austria and, as they
have a "DIN" standard specifically for such filters, progress
has been relatively unhindered.
Not so the case with the standard for water
softeners which, with their universal application (with the possible exclusion
of Holland and Denmark), has been the subject of considerable controversy.
Again a German standard (DIN 19636) exists; but there's also a "Presidential
Decree" in Italy and specific regulatory requirements in France.
There was therefore considerable pressure within the drafting group, to
emulate the DIN standard with prescriptive requirements relating to:
-- Microbiological control,
-- Automatic regeneration every 96 hours (regardless of water usage),
-- Blending to a minimum hardness of 150mg/L (CaCO3).
Conflict over softeners
Although only a small minority of softeners sold in Europe comply with
these requirements, representation at the drafting group meetings was
such that pressure to embody them in the standard was disproportionately
high. The new European Drinking Water Directive is significant in this
context because changes in the Directive negate the need for inclusion
of microbiological control (including the 96 hour regeneration) or blending.
The conventional practice in these circumstances is to create different
"types" or "classes" of product within the standard.
However, after a two-day meeting in Paris two years ago, agreement on
the criteria for two "types" could not be obtained; so it was
agreed that reference would be made to the above features qualified by
the phrase: "if necessary to meet national or local regulation."
Nonetheless, subsequent drafts contained
continual reference to microbiological control. This met with sustained
opposition and, following a presentation by a CEN Project Manager on standards
drafting principles, the draft was rejected by WG13 on the grounds it
wasn't representative of the market as a whole and it lacked consensus.
Recognizing the significance of the controversy
over microbial regrowth, Aqua Europa (see A Federation of Associations)
convened a meeting of three European microbiological experts to adjudicate
on the issue. The conclusion of the experts (see "The HPC Debate:
Bacterial Re-Growth in Post-Treatment Devices," WC&P,
July 2000) was "
it is the opinion of this group that growth
of bacteria in post-treatment devices does not represent a significant
human health risk and that any European standards relating to these devices
should be based upon functionality and not on microbiological parameters."
A Federation of AssociationsWhat
Aqua Europa is a
"federation of trade associations." Its members are
the national trade associations of the various European countries-covering
the water treatment equipment industry. Its role, much like any
trade association, is to promote the interests of its members.
But, in the case of a multinational association such as Aqua Europa,
the objectives are to provide a forum for establishing a common
position on key issues which affect the industry and provide or
obtain the funding to promote and lobby for the achievement of
With support from
industry, Aqua Europa was very effective in clarifying some of
the important aspects of the new Drinking Water Directive during
its development. Its role now is to endeavour to obtain agreement
among the membership to support national initiatives in sustaining
the essential parameters of the directive.
In the United Kingdom,
proposals exist deviating from the directive over sodium and minimum
hardness on health-related grounds. In Germany, there's a threat
to reintroduce a bacterial colony count limit. And, in several
other states, there are proposals for minimum hardness on the
grounds of corrosivity. All of these proposals are despite the
many studies contrary to their claims. The UK proposals can be
accessed at: www.environment.detr.gov.uk/consult/watersup/index.htm
Just as importantly,
Aqua Europa monitors the progress of CEN standards harmonization
within the European Union. In fact, it serves as the secretariat,
so Aqua Europa, its member organizations and the companies they
represent are actually funding the process.
As a consequence, the convenor of the softener
standard drafting group proposed that reference to microbiological growth
control should be removed except for the one phrase "if necessary
to meet national or local regulation." This proposal was embodied
in the text at the drafting group meetings last April and June and the
draft document is currently being revised on that basis with the intention
it should be presented to the next WG13 meeting this month.
While there was general acceptance of the
convenor's proposal, it was rejected by the German delegation on the grounds
that the standard won't contain the DIN 19636 requirements, which are
mandatory in Germany. Their recourse, in these circumstances, is a procedure
called an "A-Deviation." This allows a CEN member to request
that certain aspects of a standard do not apply in their country because
of "existing regulations." The A-Deviation takes the form of
an informative annex to the standard that identifies the aspects of the
standard that's in conflict with the particular national regulation.
Status of other standards
The Mechanical Filters Part 1 has been circulated for public enquiry
and the drafting group has met to review the various national objections.
A "final vote" for submission on the revised document is expected
in the autumn.
The Electrolytic Dosing and Chemical
Dosing Part 1 will be circulated for the public inquiry stage in September.
Mechanical Filters Part 2 (for those rated from 1 to 80 microns) is expected
to be submitted, along with the softener standard, to WG13 in September
for consideration for the public inquiry stage.
RO/Membrane Filters, Ultraviolet, Activated
Carbon and Composite Filters are in the early stages of drafting.
The Maintenance Standard was originally
proposed in order to defuse the deadlock in the softener standard drafting
by extracting any reference to microbial growth to a separate document.
It's intended to accommodate installation, routine maintenance and sanitation
procedures common to the whole range of water treatment products. The
first meeting is scheduled to take place in July. Maintenance of water
treatment products is a vital issue for successful performance, customer
satisfaction and industry reputation. However, this drafting group faces
the difficulty of avoiding reopening the microbiological issues tentatively
resolved in the softener standard. Furthermore, maintenance cannot be
effectively enforced without the necessary legal structure in place. Such
a structure only exists for water supplies in only a few of the CEN member
WG13 is currently considering proposals
that Physical Water Conditioners be reintroduced into the programme.
They were originally deleted form the list on the grounds there's no generally
accepted technical explanation for the phenomenon and no industry accepted
test method. With the development of the German DVGW W512 test method
for assessing the performance of a scale inhibitor, several of the European
trade associations have revised their position with regard to acceptance
of the technology based on compliance with an accepted test method. A
proposal is being prepared for consideration at the WG13 meeting in September.
European Drinking Water Directive
A European directive differs from a standard in that its application is
mandatory for members of the European Union. They must not only adopt
a directive into their regulations; they're legally bound to comply with
The first European Drinking Water Directive
(80/778/EEC) was approved in 1980 and was ultimately adopted by each member
A revised directive (98/83/EC) was approved
at the end of 1998. Each member state must adapt their regulations in
accordance with the new directive by the end of this year. And they must
comply with requirements of the new directive must be met by the end of
The new directive is simpler than the original.
It's based on the 1996 WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality
and divides parameters into three categories: 1) microbiological parameters
(mandatory), 2) chemical parameters (mandatory), and 3) indicator parameters
(monitoring purposes only).
The importance of the new directive to our industry is that it:
-- Excludes the original requirement to reharden softened water,
-- Relegates sodium to the indicator parameters, and
-- Excludes the original maximum guide levels for total bacteria counts.
These are the three primary issues that
have thus far been used to challenge the potability of softened water.
Unfortunately, some member states seek to reintroduce some of these parameters
using the perceived flexibility embodied in the new directive.
Aqua Europa and, in some cases, the national trade associations are actively
lobbying the appropriate regulators regarding how the EU Drinking Water
Directive is translated into national regulations. It also continues to
work toward harmonization of equipment standards as the de facto secretariat
of the CEN for water supply issues, particularly with respect to those
About the author
Tony Frost is a director of Aqua Focus Ltd., a consultant in water treatment
design, supplies and services in Newport, Shropshire, England. He's also
currently president of Aqua Europa and chairman of the BSi Committee which
"mirrors" the CEN/WG13 activities in the United Kingdom. He
can be contacted at +44 1952 691219 or email: AquaFocus@aol.com
the World of
By Ronald Y. Perez and Carlos
WC&P Associate and Executive Editor
As "the land of water" crisscrossed by canals traversed
by water taxis in warmer months and skaters in colder ones, it's only
natural the Netherlands hosts AquaTech, the largest trade show for the
water technology and management sector.
The country where the literary figure Hans
Brinker and the silver skates swept into our global consciousness also
hosts one of the deepest commercial ports in the world, Rotterdam, and
The Hague, which is home to the International Court of Justice and Peace
as well as key offices of the European Union and United Nations.
Every September in even numbered years, however, all eyes in the water
industry are on Amsterdam. The 2000 AquaTech event once again will be
hosted at the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre. This year,
it's held Sept. 26-29.
Expect more than 25,000 people from 700 firms and 100 countries to descend
on this beautiful city known for its great masters of art on exhibit-with
museums dedicated to Rembrandt and Van Gogh-and world-class soccer (or
football, if you prefer). At least half of all the exhibitors come from
abroad (31 countries being represented this year), which is directly related
to the 15 percent increase in sheer numbers over 1998.
A perennial attraction to attendees, national pavilions will play a prominent
role at the show. Pavilions from the United Kingdom, Spain and the United
States, coordinated by the Water Quality Association (WQA), will be present
to provide focal points to companies in particular applications of water
treatment. Others will be from Italy and Germany.
Dan Wyckoff, WQA World Assembly Division
director, said the association's pavilions serve as "a focal point
for companies in the point-of-use/point-of-entry (POU/POE) water industry,
from filter cartridges to drilling to membrane filter systems."
"Our pavilion is a 950-square-meter
area that will include international pavilions from Russia, India, Israel,
Taiwan and Korea as well," added WQA Meetings and Conventions director
Jeannine Collins. "The WQA also will sponsor daylong educational
seminar series, which are open to the public on POE water treatment applications."
WQA World Assembly DivisionSeminar
On Wed., Sept. 27,
the Water Quality Association will sponsor an all-day seminar
on POU/POE water treatment technology. Presentations will be given
in English. There is no charge to AquaTech 2000 attendees for
Following is the
9:30 a.m.Registration and welcome
10:00 a.m."Membrane Technologies"
Speaker: Peter Cartwright, Cartwright Consulting
Speaker: Michael Baird, Hydro-Flo Filtration Systems
Speaker: Jim Carbonari, Pentapure Inc.
3:30 p.m."Ion Exchange Processes"
Speaker: Michael Gottlieb, ResinTech Inc.
Overall, WQA represents many of the 60 exhibitors
from the United States. And, for the second time, the association will
convene World Assembly Division meetings at AquaTech.
Integral water management
The most innovative aspect of this year's show is the thematic approach
chosen in response to the many branches in water management that overlap
into one another. Areas like potable water, wastewater and industrial
process water increasingly demand solutions that require more comprehensive
approaches. Addressing these issues, AquaTech focuses the thrust of its
sessions to integral water management.
Themes at the show can basically be broken
down in three categories: "sewerage," new market structures
and industrial water treatment. First, 10 innovative sewerage-or sewage-projects
of Dutch municipalities will be on display as models at the pavilion dedicated
to the subject. The pavilion will be coordinated by the Rioned Foundation
in conjunction with AquaTech. Second, new market structures are a direct
result of a larger presence from water supply companies. They'll be exhibiting
in far greater numbers this year than in the past.
Looking for a growing international audience,
exhibitors in this category include Vivendi and Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux
from France, Severn Trent and Thames Water from the UK, and NUON and Essent
from the Netherlands. Lastly, water in industry will be discussed in seminars
on every day of the show.
Considering the show takes place in seven
halls of the Europa complex, which equals an area of roughly 25,000 square
meters, it can quickly become a problem to maneuver around the exhibition
without getting lost or at least flustered. To assist those attending,
AquaTech has devised a series of tour routes enabling visitors a better
chance to find a particular exhibit or service/product that they seek.
Routes are divided into five areas: 1) potable water; 2) industrial process
water and wastewater management; 3) sewage, transport, distribution and
storage; 4) process control technology and process automation; research
and consultancy, and 5) utilities. Free maps will be distributed at the
entrance, and can be viewed at AquaTech's website (www.AquaTech-rai.com).
Special programs are also being offered throughout the four-day show.
Innovations in Conventional and Advanced Water Treatment Processes will
take place all four days. It's presented by the International Water Association
(IWA) along with American Water Works Association, KIWA and Industrial
Workers of the World. Implementation of the EU Nutrient Emission Guidelines
runs from Sept. 27-29. IWA and European Water Association in cooperation
with the Netherlands Association on Water Management (NVA) are organizing
the event. As discussed earlier, WQA will conduct educational seminars
on Sept. 27 regarding POE applications.
Tulips Along the Canal
A Visitor's Guide to Amsterdam
Face it, some cities
are just famous for certain things. Nightlife is to Amsterdam
what beer is to Milwaukee.
On stage, you'll
find comedy clubs such as Boom Chicago (English), cabarets, an
open-air amphitheater and traditional venues for dance and plays.
Holland Casino is in the Lido district. Seymour Likely and Escape
are two recommended discos. And cafes and nightclubs abound offering
musical choices for a variety of tastes.
has 727,095 inhabitants, 400,000 bikes, 165 canals, 42
museums and 206 paintings by Van Gogh
With its unique
gabled and gothic architecture, Amsterdam is home to some outstanding
tourist sites and venues that can be seen during canal tours,
bicycle rides or shopping excursions for diamonds or antiques.
If you're going to be outdoors, however, make sure to pack a sweater
or a light jacket as the high temperature average in September
is about 64°F with average lows getting down to 51°F.
First, though, you
must find a practical way to get to and from the RAI along with
thousands of others. By auto, the RAI is adjacent to the Amsterdam
ring road (A10), at exit S109. By train, the intercity line from
Roosendahl/Belgium connects at Schiphol with trains heading to
the Amsterdam RAI station. By tram, you'll arrive at Amsterdam
Central Station where you can take the Amstelveen express tram
51 (exit at the Amsterdam RAI station) or tram 4 (exit at the
RAI Europaplein). Air travelers can take advantage of a direct
train connection from Schiphol Airport to the RAI exhibition hall.
The conference lasts
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for the last day when it closes
at 5 p.m. There's plenty of time to do shopping, visit a few museums,
partake in some of the after hours activities and enjoy some of
the best food in the world. You might even want to extend your
stay and transform it into a mini-vacation.
A thumbnail sketch
has been provided to make the most of your time in Amsterdam.
Shopping is a must for all first-time visitors, and selections
are wide in this area. Two must-see streets boasting a variety
of shops are the Utrechtsestraat and the Haarlemmerstraat. Large
department stores are located on the Dam, the Rokin, the Kalverstraat,
the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Leidsestraat.
Hours for museums
vary, so you may want to contact Amsterdam RAI or your hotel for
specific times. Here is a sampling of the more recognizable: The
Rijksmuseum (the National Gallery), Stadhouderskade 42; Van Gogh
Museum, Paulus Potterstraat 7; Stedelijk Museum (Municipal Museum),
Paulus Potterstraat 13; and Anna Frank Huis, Prinsengracht 263.
As far as nightlife,
too many establishments to name here. Instead, we will break it
down by areas of the city. Area Leidseplein and Area Rembrandtplein
provide bars with live music. Area Spui/Munt lists Brown Café
Hoppe and Grand Café's as premiere coffeehouses. Area Central
Station/Dam features tasting bars of beer and liquor. Area Jordan
is one of Amsterdam's historical neighborhoods and has a large
concentration of small restaurants and bars.
Speaking of restaurants,
indulge in some of these top eateries: Bordewijk, Noordermarkt
7; Christophe, Leliegracht 46; Ciel Blue (located at the Okura
Hotel), Ferdinand Bolstraat 333; Excelsior, Nieuwe Doelenstraat
2-8; and Vermeer (located at the Barbizon Palace), Prins Hendrikkade
For more information
on the web, peruse these sites: www.amsterdam.nl, www.visitamsterdam.nl,
www.visitholland.com, www.klm.com, www.ahold.com or www.hemispheresmagazine.com/amsterdam.html
additional information on AquaTech 2000 or RAI International,
call Martijn Roosen at +31 20 5491212, +31 20 6464469
(fax) or email: email@example.com
Public water debates will be held daily
on subjects relating to the show's basic three themes. Speakers from both
government and industrial institutions will be on hand to provide lively
talk on various topics. The International AquaTech Innovation Award will
again be awarded to the exhibitor displaying the most innovative product
or service. Last year, the prize was given for the first time. To liven
up things, dozens of Dutch teams as well as other international teams
will shoot for the VWN Challenge Trophy in pipe fitters competitions.
The biennial event known as AquaTech is comparable to roughly six WQA
conventions held simultaneously. It offers an opportunity to see examples
of the best in water treatment from around the world and from every perspective.
Keep in mind, that requires a lot of preplanning to make sure you're not
just tilting at windmills once you get there.