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Tighter Drinking Water Quality Standards Preannounced

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To further strengthen water quality management and improve drinking water quality, the EPA has preannounced revisions to the Drinking Water Quality Standards. The standards to be tightened are for nickel, mercury, chlorite, vinyl chloride, toluene, and xylene. After taking into account the public’s growing demand for higher-quality drinking water, the EPA has also amended the standards for turbidity and bromate levels in post-disaster drinking water.

The Drinking Water Quality Standards were originally promulgated in 1998 and have been amended five times since then. At present, there are 68 items controlled under the standards. Over the years, the EPA has taken into account environmental changes, technological development, international trends and restrictions adopted by other nations when reviewing the Drinking Water Quality Standards. The EPA took the following factors into account when drafting the latest amendments:

‧Current environmental situation in Taiwan.

‧Drinking water standards adopted by Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and the WHO

‧Toxicity data and other relevant regulations

‧Risk assessment information of each of the drinking water standards used by the countries above

The amendments were preannounced on 18 August 2016, and the main points are as follows:

1. Changes have been made to the control limits for six chemical substances listed in Article 3, namely nickel, mercury, chlorite, vinyl chloride, toluene and xylene.

1) From 1 July 2018, the maximum limit for nickel will be 0.07 mg/L, and from 1 July 2019, the maximum limit will further fall to 0.02 mg/L.

2) From 1 July 2018, the maximum limit for mercury will be 0.001 mg/L.

3) The maximum limit for chlorite will henceforth be 0.7 mg/L.

4) From 1 July 2018, the maximum limit for vinyl chloride will be 0.0003 mg/L.

5) The maximum limit value for toluene will henceforth be 0.7 mg/L.

6) The maximum limit for xylene will henceforth be 0.5 mg/L.

2. Deletion of the stipulation that the bromate standard is not applicable in the event of typhoons and other natural disasters.

3. Turbidity standards, applied when drinking water sources become turbid after heavy rains or other natural disasters, have been revised. The conditions for applying the free available residual chlorine standards have also been revised accordingly.

Ministry of Environment