Ilari Aho, Volker Meyer, Peter Sejersen
Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
The lack of a cross-border acceptance of the approval of the hygienic requirements for plastic pipes systems is inefficient and expensive for the industry. The costs for testing of a pipe system range from a few thousand Euro to more than €30k /reference 3, 4/. The European Plastic Pipe and Fitting Association (TEPPFA) is therefore a very active and hardworking member of the European Drinking Water (EDW) Association striving for a harmonization within a two-year time frame.
European standardization of plastic pipe systems has been on the agenda since the eighties and almost all applications are now described in common European standards. An important expectance however is the hygienic requirements of pipes for drinking water: The European Drinking Water Directive states in article 10 that “Member States shall ensure that substances and materials in contact with drinking water shall not endanger human health” and this sentence allows each member state to set individual requirements and test methods. The industry is therefore challenged by a system which makes trade across boarders difficult and expensive.
In 2001, The European Commission issued a mandate (M/136) to EU standardization bodies (CEN/CENELEC), to provide European standards for construction products in contact with drinking water. Despite all the efforts, the Commission decided to withdraw this mandate in 2015, for the reason that it was impossible to elaborate complete standards on construction products in contact with drinking water, as of the absence of relevant regulatory guidance. The treaty of Lisbon in 2007 declared the free movement of goods within the European Union to be a top priority. After there was no European guidance from the commission France, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany agreed to pursue a common approach for testing and assessing of products in contact with drinking water on a voluntary basis. This program is generally known as “the Four Member States (4MS) Initiative”.
To support the initiative an alliance of European associations representing the industries which manufacture and supply products that are used in drinking water applications was establish. The members of the initiative called „European Drinking Water“ (EDW), include representatives from the pipe-, pump-, valve-, tap-, fitting-, seal-, meter-, water heater-, water treatment- and catering equipment-industry, i.e. the entire industry supply chain ranging from the raw materials suppliers to water distribution. It is a high priority area for the manufacturer of plastic pipes and TEPPFA is therefore deeply involved in the project. This presentation explains the long and winding road towards a European harmonization of hygienic requirements for plastic pipes.