Scotland catches up on water quality legislation

Two sets of regulations dealing with the quality of drinking water taken from private supplies and implementing an EC Directive on "black list" substances in water came into force on 1 April in Scotland, bringing it into line with recent legislation in England and Wales.

One of the new sets of rules gives legal force to the 1980 EC Directive on drinking water quality as it applies to private water supplies when used for drinking, washing, cooking or food production.1Very similar regulations were brought into force south of the border on 1 January (ENDS Report 204, pp 33-4 ). One of the main differences between the two is that in Scotland local authorities have less discretion to authorise "relaxations" from the various water quality standards laid down and the Government will have more direct influence over how the EC provisions in this area are exercised.

The second set of regulations effectively gives statutory backing to the environmental quality standards (EQSs) for four "black list" substances - ethylene dichloride, triand perchloroethylene and trichlorobenzene - laid down in a 1990 EC Directive.2 The EQSs concerned have now been incorporated in a classification scheme which will be used as a basis for setting statutory quality objectives for various stretches of surface water in due course. Requirements for sampling and analysis of the four substances are also laid down. Similar rules have also just been introduced in England and Wales (ENDS Report 206, p 35 ).

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