Dutch ruling on lead water pipes

New law will require lead pipes inside and outside homes to be replaced by 2005

The Dutch environment ministry is to introduce a law requiring the vast majority of lead water pipes to be replaced by 2005. The law will require the replacement of all lead water supply pipes by 2000, and 80% of lead water pipes within homes by 2005. The move is aimed at bringing the quality of drinking water in line with new safety limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1993. These stipulate that the level of lead should be no more than 10 microgrammes/litre. The government will unveil further details over the next three months, particularly on the question of financial support for householders who will have to foot the bill for removal of domestic water pipes. The Dutch water suppliers' association, Vewin, estimates the cost of replacing lead supply pipes could be up to Nfl400 million (Ecu181 million). For domestic pipes this rises to Nfl700 million. Vewin says the new law will require its members to speed up existing replacement schedules.

Follow Up:
Dutch environment ministry (/), tel: +31 70 339 3939; Vewin, e-mail: vewin@vewin.nl.

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