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CP394  Improving Drinking Water Quality - Nickel Leaching from chrome Plated Tapware Water Quality
Project Appreciation and Objectives

The Drinking Water Inspectorate's (DWI's) June 2008 annual report calls on Water Utilities to "up their game" in controlling risks within buildings caused by poor plumbing practices, or the use of materials and water fittings disallowed by the fittings regulations. High levels of nickel in random samples from consumer's taps are cited among the substances of issue to DWI.

Concerns focus on the practice of the over-spray of nickel coating within taps in order ensure bonding of chrome plating. Stakeholders (water utilities, manufacturers & regulators) suggest various causes and effects including: retention of stagnant water within some tap models; the effect of attaching water saving devices to nozzles; the characteristics of the supplied water and the internal geometry of tapware.

This project will collate and review, within the context of compliance with the UK's water quality regulatory regime, the range of theories proposed by sector stakeholders and evaluate the supporting evidence base. Focused experimental work will investigate key aspects as appropriate. The project will enhance collective understanding of the nickel leaching issue, and both encourage and support the objective resolution of the problem by the stakeholders.

Benefits to Clients

  • Improved collective understanding by stakeholders of causes and the supporting evidence.
  • Demonstration of commitment to resolve the issue.
  • Greater certainty for supply chains, end users and regulators.
  • Improved ability to objectively influence the resolution of the issue.
  • Reduced opportunity for inappropriate products to penetrate the UK plumbing market.

Work Programme

  1. Collate and review stakeholder theories and supporting evidence.
  2. Develop an experimental design with participants.
  3. Perform an investigative experimental programme.
  4. Report and disseminate findings.

Project Output

  • Preliminary report on stakeholders' issues and evidence.
  • Investigative experimental data.
  • Final reports.
  • Dissemination seminars to:
    • Project Liaison Group; and,
    • staff of each participant.
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