43 - Council Directive 75/440/EEC of 16 June 1975 concerning the quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water in the Member States (OJ L 194 25.07.1975 p. 26 pp. 839-844

Council Directive 75/440/EEC of 16 June 1975 concerning the quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water in the Member States (<i>OJ L 194 25.07.1975 p. 26</i>)

By Philippe Sands and Paolo Galizzi

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Editorial note

Council Directive 75/440/EEC of 16 June 1975 concerning the quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water in the Member States seeks to harmonise national legislation and establish quality standards. The Directive applies only to surface water intended for use in the abstraction of drinking water, although all surface water intended for human consumption and supplied for public use is to be considered drinking water (Article 1). The Directive sets out in its annexes the limit values for different qualities of surface water (Article 2), so that those listed in the ‘I’ columns of Annex II are minimum values which Member States must establish and those in the ‘G’ columns represent guidelines which Member States must endeavour to respect (Article 3). Member States are required to ensure that the Directive applies without distinction to national or international waters (Article 4(1)). Those surface waters which do not meet the mandatory minimum values in the Directive are not to be used, save for exceptional circumstances, whereupon suitable processes must be introduced to bring the quality up to standard and the Commission is to be notified (Article 4(3)). Member States are also required to take all necessary measures to improve the environment continuously, including drawing up a systematic plan of action along with a timetable (Article 4(2)). The Directive sets forth detailed measurement and sampling provisions to ensure compliance (Article 5), although Member States are permitted to set more stringent requirements for surface water than those in the Directive (Article 6).