332 Abstracts: Treatment processes and distribution systems
Materials employed in the distribution of drinking
water: existing regulations and current conditions in
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299-00161 Rome, Italy
Ministero délia Sanità, Rome, Italy
L. GRAMICCIONÏ & M. MILANA
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viole Regina Elena, 299-00161 Rome, Italy
If it is true that the preservation of qualitative and quantitative features of drinking water
is required when conveying the resource, it is equally true that these features must be
protected against eventual alterations caused by materials in contact with water. Many
parameters may be involved in these alterations, and often they are not well known. This
paper focuses on the materials used and the length of the pipes. No validated data are
available in Italy on this topic.
The hygienic character of materials used for direct contact with water for human
consumption are not yet regulated by the EEC. This topic is expressly excluded in those
directives concerned with plastic materials in contact with foods. Only recently have
meetings been held to draft such regulations.
In Italy, many regulations are concerned with materials in contact with water for
human consumption; their leading principles are:
— materials used to manufacture water reservoirs are regulated as materials in contact
— many metals are submitted to specific regulations;
— pipes made of plastics and/or rubber and used for drinking water are regulated by
a 1978 ministerial circular. This circular reflects the principles of the law of
materials in contact with foods and was never revised despite the technological and
health developments in this field. However, an updated version was drafted by the
Health Ministry and is pending examination by the Higher Health Council.
This paper will summarize the data collected by the Health Ministry on eight
different materials mostly used for contact with water for human consumption. In a
survey concerned with approximately 1850 aqueducts representative of the whole Italian
water supply, the length of the conduits of the aqueducts (in km) and the frequency of
use of different materials have been monitored.
On the basis of these parameters, the total length of piping of each material has been
very roughly estimated, to within an order of magnitude. Collection of these data is a
useful step towards promoting specific improvements is a largely neglected field.