1. The Joint Committee has examined the following two proposals made by the Commission for Council Directives, both of which arise out of the Communities’ Environment Programme 1977-81:—
Limitation of the noise emitted by compressors [R/804/78],
Measurement and Frequencies of Sampling and Analysis of the parameters of the quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water [R/2147/78].
Noise Emitted by Compressors
2. The purpose of the proposed Directive is to prevent compressors used on building sites being put on the market if they do not comply with certain conditions as to the emission of noise. Member States would be required to give EEC type-approval or type-verification to compressors which comply with the conditions and the sale or use of such compressors could not thereafter be prohibited by national laws.
3. The conditions with which it is proposed that compressors must comply are contained not merely in the proposed Directive but also in a proposed framework Directive on common provisions for constructional plant and equipment which has been before the Council since January, 1975 but which has not yet been adopted.
Implications for Ireland
4. The Committee is informed that compressors of the type in question are not manufactured in Ireland. Moreover, it is advised that there is no conflict between the provisions of the draft Directive and those of the Factories Act regulations in force in this country.
Sampling and Analysis of Surface Water
5. Council Directive 75/440/EEC adopted in June, 1975 deals with the quality required of surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water. The directive requires that surface water sources of public drinking water supplies be classified into one of three categories A1, A2, or A3 in accordance with specified standards and provides that the appropriate prescribed treatment method be applied to the corresponding category of surface water. It also restricts the use of water below A3 quality. These provisions apply to the quality of (raw) surface water before it is treated rather than the quality of water after treatment i.e. when it is suitable for drinking by consumers. A survey carried out in Ireland after the adoption of Directive 75/440/EEC indicates that 85 per cent of the surface water source of public water supplies serving a population of 3,000 or more is in the A1 category.
6. Directive 75/440/EEC does not contain detailed technical provisions governing methods of measurement and frequencies of sampling and analysis of surface water sources. The proposed new Directive (R/2147/78) deals with these technical aspects.
Implications for Ireland
7. The Joint Committee is informed that the number of surface water sources of public water supply systems is such that recently existing laboratory facilities in this country could not cope with a request for even a once-off analysis for each of the 46 parameters listed in the proposed Directive for each source. It has been represented to the Committee that it is essential, therefore, that the proposed Directive be modified so as to limit the scope of sampling and analysis where levels of substances present in surface water are considerably lower than those defined in Directive 75/440/EEC for the various categories of surface water sources [A1, A2 and A3].
8. It has also been represented to the Joint Committee that the competent authority (i.e. the local authority) should have discretion to fix the frequency of sampling for surface water sources of public supplies serving a population of less than 10,000. This proposal is regarded as consistent with the current version of a proposed EEC Directive on the quality of water for human consumption—which gives competent authorities discretion in fixing frequencies of sampling for drinking water supplies serving a population of less than 5,000. The higher discretionary threshold of 10,000 is regarded as justifiable in the proposed Directive on surface water—which deals with the standard of water prior to the treatment necessary to make it fit for drinking whereas the proposed Directive on the quality of water for human consumption deals with the standard of water after treatment and as it reaches the consumer (which justifies the lower discretionary threshold of 5,000).
Views of the Joint Committee
9. In regard to the proposed Directive relating to compressors, the Joint Committee notes that the primary burden of complying with the Directive will fall on those putting the articles on the market and that these compressors are not manufactured in Ireland. The Committee is satisfied with the standards proposed and considers that the Directive is acceptable.
10. In regard to the analysis and sampling of surface water, the Joint Committee is of the opinion that the draft Directive could also be accepted if it were modified on the lines set out in paragraphs 7 and 8 of thIS report.
11. The Joint Committee consulted the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Confederation of Irish Industry and the Federated Union of Employers in respect of proposal R/804/78. It wishes to express its sincere thanks for the assistance received.
(Signed) MARK CLINTON,
Chairman of the Joint Committee.
13th December, 1978.