Exemptions from chemical quality requirements for household water

Water suppliers need the competent Regional State Administrative Agency’s consent for deviating from chemical quality requirements. The same applies to a water owner who abstracts household water using the water user’s own equipment. We can only grant an exemption in the case of a new water body for domestic water abstraction, a new source of raw water contamination or a newly identified variable affecting the health quality of household water, or if an unforeseen and exceptional situation has occurred in the area of the water body that may lead to a temporary deviation of the quality requirement variable.

We will grant an exemption for the duration of corrective measures if household water cannot be obtained in another reasonable way and the exemption does not harm health. The exemption must be limited to as short a period as possible, up to a maximum of three years.  

The exemption application can be formatted freely, but it must contain the following information: 

  • water supply area covered by the exemption 
  • average and maximum amount of water supplied to the water supply area on a daily basis
  • number of household water users in the water supply area
  • food premises within the scope of the household water supply for which water quality is essential
  • variable for which an exemption from the maximum value is sought 
  • maximum content for which exemption is sought
  • reason for the exemption
  • requested duration of the exemption 
  • previous control study results for the variable
  • a water quality monitoring plan including more frequent monitoring where appropriate
  • a plan of corrective measures with timetables and cost estimates.

Send the application to your local Regional State Administrative Agency’s registry. The municipal health protection authority will issue an opinion on your application to the Regional State Administrative Agency. In addition, we will request an opinion from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment to see if changes in the water supply will be needed in order to bring water quality into line with the requirements. Where necessary, we will also ask the municipal food control authority for an opinion on any effects on food safety. 

If the exemption is granted, we will inform the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the ELY Centre and the municipal health protection authority as well as the municipal food control authority if a statement has been requested from them. Information on the granted exemption will also be delivered to the European Commission, the European Environment Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

We can grant an exemption for a second period of up to three years for a justified reason. You have to apply for the second exemption period in the same way as the first, at least three months before the first exemption expires. You have to attach a report on the progress of water quality and corrective measures to the application.

The Regional State Administrative Agency will submit the above-mentioned report and justifications for granting the exemption at least one month before the start of the intended second exemption period to THL, which will forward the information to the European Commission without delay.