What requirements should be met by drinking water? Are there any rules that define its quality? How is it controlled? We will try to answer the later questions in this article.
What does the law say about this subject?
In Poland, the standards for drinking water quality are set in the form of a regulation by the Minister of Health. The Minister acts on the basis of the 2001 Act on collective water supply and collective sewage disposal. The current regulation sets out the requirements for the quality of water intended for human consumption. Accordingly, water is safe if it does not contain microorganisms, parasites or chemical substances in quantities posing threat to health. In addition, it must not have aggressive corrosive properties. The regulation covers various properties of water. They include biological, microbiological, chemical, physicochemical and organoleptic such appearance, taste and smell. Moreover, the standard applies to water drawn from waterworks and individual water intakes, tanks or reservoirs as well as water sold in containers. However, it does not apply to natural mineral and spring waters, table and therapeutic waters. The latter are subject to separate regulations.
How is water controlled?
Additionally, the regulation describes the rules of allowing water for consumption by the State Sanitary Inspectorate (Sanepid). It requires the regular monitoring of water quality and periodic testing in the approved laboratories. A local sanitary inspector may declare water fit for consumption, conditionally fit for consumption or not at all. In the latter case the inspector orders a water supply company to remove the causes of such conditions. On the basis of monitoring, the Sanepid creates aggregate, area-based assessments of water quality and estimates of health risks to consumers. Such assessments contain a lot of valuable and useful information. They include a list of water producers supplying a given area together with their production volumes. In addition, they cover an indicator assessment of water quality, information on nonconformities, related proceedings and corrective actions.
Our Tap Water
The water that goes into the water supply network is fairly well tested and controlled. However, once it is in the network, before reaching our home, it can become contaminated again. For example, it can be contaminated with rust from the pipes. It is only after applying a home filter that we should drink it – instead of more expensive and less ecological bottled water.