RPS Called to Give Evidence on Water Quality

09 May 2013

On 27 February 2013 RPS gave evidence to the Commons Select Committee on the inquiry into water quality. Marco Lattughi (RPS Senior Operational Manager) put forward the Environmental Industries Commission response to the enquiry at Westminster.

The select committee has been assessing the strength of the evidence for the proposed inclusion of 15 additional compounds to Water Framework Directive, which would lead to further controls to water discharges. Evidence has also been given in response to the proposed revision of the water environmental quality standards that in some cases are extremely low. These changes would have a very big impact on the water industry (>27 billion pounds) and ultimately lead to higher water rates for tax payers.

The roles of the public, industry, regulators and Government have been challenged by the committee to ensure that the chemicals that pose a risk to human health are effectively controlled and to find out if there is a better way to limit pharmaceuticals entering the waste water cycle.

The select committee questioned the European Commission’s proposal, under the Water Framework Directive. to ascertain if a thorough evidence-based approach has been adopted in the designation of substances that present a significant risk to/via the aquatic environment.

RPS has been heavily involved in the delivery of Chemicals Investigation Programme (the most comprehensive assessment of Priority Substances to date) for United Utilities, Southern Water and Thames Water over the last two years, leading to a very detailed understanding of priority substances and emerging substances in the wastewater cycle. The Letchworth laboratory team has been responsible for the analysis of these chemicals in waste water samples from around the UK and has developed very sophisticated methods to detect these target substances, in very complex matrices, forming part of a very select number of scientists capable of successfully delivering this service on such a large scale, across three large water companies.

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