Last Thursday, February 1, 2018, Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European commission, announced changes to the drinking water directive which put additional responsibilities on national governments within the EU. These responsibilities, specifically, would push national governments to provide greater access to drinking fountains as well as prompt additional restaurants to offer free tap water.
This is all being done to reduce plastic waste and ultimately improve the health of Europeans yet in order to do this second objective fully, the initiative must also ensure water safety is being elevated as well. This means that this current push will not only raise the standards on suppliers of water bottles but also will be looking into the standards used by municipalities when offering additional drinking fountains.
As such, the list of criteria for determining water safety will now also include a requirement to review Legionella and chlorate levels, a move which combined with the other portions of these proposed changes, are estimated to reduce the potential health risks associated with drinking water from 4% to below 1%, according to the European Commission.
Regardless of the push towards additional water fountains and away from plastic bottles, this kind of push towards increased testing and precaution for Legionella bacteria and ultimately the prevention of sporadic or outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease is certainly encouraging. Indeed it seems fitting that such a move would accompany a push towards water fountains as the more publicly available municipal water is to the public, particularly in the form of drinking water, the more scrutiny and safety concerns should be applied.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.