Wednesday, May 16, 2012

China: Stricter Water Standards to Be Applied Nationwide

China is adopting a new drinking water standard throughout the country in July with stricter requirements on water supplies, according to the Ministry of Health.

The new standard has 106 requirements concerning organic substances, microbes and purification levels, or three times the number of the current version which was instituted in 1985.

It will also unify drinking water standards in cities and in rural areas and for the first time define the meaning of domestic drinking water as that for daily drinking and domestic use.

The new standard was originally drawn up in 2006 and Shanghai and some other major cities have been applying it since 2007, the Shanghai Water Authority said.

"More limitations were added on the content of microbes," said Zhang Lan, deputy director of the water office under the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "The biggest change was the extension of toxicological indicators, which was increased to 21 from 10 named in the 1985 version."

Zhang said the increase in indicators was in accordance with current water quality in China and more scientific.

"The water quality of our resources (in 1985) was very different, especially in certain regions where pollution was not as serious as it is and emergency pollution cases were not as frequent as they are, so the indicators then were fewer," Zhang said.

"Additionally, we have stricter requirements on certain indicators as arsenic, chromium and lead."

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