Legal Aspects of Implementation of New Technologies for Water Treatment

Legal Aspects of Implementation of New Technologies for Water Treatment

"Haaretz " Daily Newspaper
Tzvi Levinson and Gil Dror Adv. October 2007

Often we hear about new technologies for water treatment that can increase the potential of water sources in Israel and the world. In some cases, new technologies are not included in the routine legislation, due to rapid technological development on the one hand, and slow development of the regulatory system on the other. 

Generally, the regulator can use different approaches to technological developments: the first, to define accurately the technologies that should be used, e.g in the Israeli regulations, disinfection by chlorine is mandatory. On one hand, the regulator has certainty in determining the exact methodology for water disinfection. It is especially important for drinking water. On the other hand, this approach may prove to be very rigid and prevent the use of new technologies. The other approach is technology neutral. In these cases, the regulator does not define any specific technology as the only possible technology for water treatment, but define the standards that the water supplier should comply with. For example, in the Israeli regulations for the sanitary quality of drinking water, a set of thresholds were determined, without mentioning the exact technological measures that should be taken in order to comply with these standards. 

In some cases, due to the use of innovative technologies for the treatment of water new permits or licenses are requested. For instance, for the use of water disinfection by radiation of U.V beam, it is needed to verify whether a radiation permit is essential. We also should note that new technologies for desalination of sea water, produce hazardous waste by-products. In this case, again, additional regulatory obligations, such as transportation and disposal of hazardous waste become relevant. 

The article reviews the relationship between the legal system and new technologies for water treatment.